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In the prison camps of German 




3 1924 027 867 245 



IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 



'/ Was in Prison, and Ye Visited Me" 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924027867245 




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IN THE PRISON 
CAMPS OF GERMANY 



A Narrative of "Y" Service among 
Prisoners of War 



CONRAD HOFFMAN 

Secretary, International Committee of Young Men's Christian 
Associations in Charge of Prisoner-of-War Work in Germany 




ASSOCIATION PRESS 

Nbw York : 347 Madison Avenue 
1920 
H 




Copyright, 1920, by 

The International Committee of 

Young Men's Christian Associations 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

Foreword vii 

I. The Flying Squadron 1 

II. First Impressions of Berlin 7 

III. Plans for Germans in Russia 17 

IV. Well-Equipped Camps and Hospitals 30 

V. The Britishers at Ruhleben 42 

VI. Christmas in a Pbison Hospital 59 / 

VII. Pbisoners at Work and Hungry 63/ 

VIII. Help in Both Worship and Study 74 

IX. Working under Surveillance ,- 84 

X. The Second Christmas 91 

XI. Only One American Left' 98 

XII. The Day of Food Substitutes ll(r 

XIII. Camps in East and West Prussia 119 

XIV. The Beginning of the End 135 

XV. Visiting the First Amebican Peisonebs 145 

XVI. Captueed Doughboys All in Camp Rastatt . 159 

XVII. Real Amebicanism in Evidence 167 

XVIII. Fiest Days of the Geeman Revolution 183 

XIX. Readjustment to the New Oedeb 196 

XX. Signs of Social Disintegeation 207 

XXI. Fighting in the Stbeets of Beelin 215 

XXII. A Teip to Vienna 227 

XXIII. Expeeiments in Democeacy 232 

XXIV. The Stbike Epidemic Continues 240 

XXV. The German Chuech at Home and Abeoad . . 247 

XXVI. Russian Peisonebs and theie Guaeds 254 

XXVII. A Concluding Judgment 264 

Appendix I. Lettebs of Appbeciation 268 

II. An American Woman in Berlin 270 

III. Camp Newspapers 275 

IV. Personnel 279 

v 



FOREWORD 

Four years spent in Germany during the War in service to the 
Allied and American prisoners of war there, brought many inter- 
esting experiences and innumerable opportunities for observation 
worthy of recording in more or less permanent form. Arriving in 
Berlin in August, 1915, to take up prisoner-of-war work as Sec- 
retary of the War Prisoners' Aid of the Young Men's Christian 
Association, the writer, although an American, was able to con- 
tinue in the service uninterruptedly until the conclusion of the 
War. Another eight months after the armistice was signed were 
spent in service to the Russian prisoners of war still held in Ger- 
many, the author finally leaving Berlin for the States on June 10, 
1919. Urged by associates and friends to put these experiences in 
writing, he finally consented, daring thereby to add another one 
to the thousands of war books which have already appeared, in 
the hope that the uniqueness of the experiences would prove of 
genuine interest to readers. 

Lest a wrong impression be created as to the extent of the service 
actually rendered on behalf of the Allied prisoners of war, attention 
is called at the outset to the following facts regarding the numbers 
and character of the prisoners among whom work was done. With 
some 2,800,000 prisoners of war, representing twenty-nine different 
nationalities, distributed in 150 camps and several thousand work- 
ing detachments, and with never more than thirteen secretaries, 
the maximum staff of workers permitted, it is obvious that all 
prisoners could not have been reached. Most humbly and frankly 
the writer admits that much was done; but in contrast to that 
which should have been done it was a discouraging and well-nigh 
insignificant little. In fact, the efforts put forth and the results 
accomplished were so infinitesimal in the light of the need that 
discouragement was ever prevalent. 

The story of the work as told herein, with its many details of 
services rendered, may create the impression that all were served, 
but such was far from being the case. Many, no doubt, were 

vii 



viii IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

benefited directly or indirectly, but many more perhaps never 
heard of the work or knew that such a relief work was being done 
on their behalf. It was impossible, with the resources and men 
available and permitted, to do anything at all commensurate with 
the needs and the demands. The service rendered stands on its 
own merits. 




The Eleven Y Secretaries Comprising the Flying Squadron 




H. R. H. The Crown Princess of Sweden in Booth Exhibiting Articles 
Made by Prisoners of War 



CHAPTER I 
THE FLYING SQUADRON 

July 3, 1915, was a memorable day at least for eleven American 

Y M C A secretaries who sailed on that date from New York 
for England to engage in war relief work. The group was known as 
"The Flying Squadron"; their task, relief work on behalf of the 
prisoners of war in England and Association work for the British 
soldiers; their term of service two months. Before departure 
much was said concerning the sacrifice which the individual 
secretaries were making in giving up their summer vacations for 
this service to European brothers then in awful combat. 

The "Squadron" was the result of a European trip of investiga- 
tion in the warring countries by Dr. John R. Mott in the fall of 
1914. Inspired by what he had seen to the conviction that relief 
work, especially on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners 
of war, was an imperative and Christian necessity, he immediately 
proceeded with the organization of such work. Early in 1915 
Mr. C. V. Hibbard and Dr. A. C. Harte were sent over as advance 
agents to investigate possibilities of service and to secure necessary 
permissions for the work. Two camp secretaries were quickly 
set to work, and in response to their direct appeals for men the 
"Squadron" was sent as the first contribution of the American 

Y M C A movement to the European men under arms. Little 
did one realize that these men were to become the forerunners of 
several thousand other Association workers to be sent overseas in 
the subsequent years of the Great War. 

Those who composed the personnel of this "Flying Squadron" 
were all moved by the high ideals of Christian service which the 
opportunity offered. How utterly remote at that time was the 
thought that America, too, would become involved in the struggle! 
Through years of discussion on the moral equivalent of war, or 
through indifference occasioned by lack of contact with the dangers 
of war, Americans were inclined to condemn war and its cruelties, 
and especially its terrible wake of suffering and agony inflicted 

1 



2 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

upon the innocent ones — mothers, wives, and children of the men 
giving their very life-blood at the front for the cause which they 
regarded as righteous and their own. At that time America had 
little, if any, interest in the principles at stake. Ignorant of and 
unsophisticated in European diplomacy and political intrigue— 
our knowledge was largely drawn from a few more or less elemen- 
tary histories of high-school or college days — Americans could 
not comprehend the antagonism and hatred, the jealousies and 
ambitions, that were liberated by the fateful shot of Serajewa. 
We of the "Squadron" utilized the ocean trip in endeavoring most 
assiduously to brush up on European history by reading, as part 
of the training in preparation for the overseas work, the books 
comprising our library. These books included Hazen's "History 
of Europe since 1815," Lowell's "Government of England," Poin- 
care's "How France Is Governed," and von Billow's "Modern 
Germany." The fact that we were reading these books served 
as a frank confession of our ignorance of European life and history. 

At the time of our departure the position of America was one of 
neutrality, for as yet America had no part or parcel in the struggle 
which was shaking Europe to its very foundations and which was 
threatening to overthrow many of the institutions laboriously 
built up through centuries of bloody history. The invasion of 
Belgium and the sinking of the Lusitania had aroused a wave of 
protest and sentiment against Germany, but as yet this had 
hardly crystallized into a conviction. They were horrible incidents 
of the war and were to be expected, so it was assumed, as Sherman's 
hackneyed and famous slogan "War is hell" was nonchalantly 
repeated by way of explanation. 

Impartial service to the combatants on both sides was the 
"Squadron's" desire and function. All were actuated by the 
highest ideals of service, but we were without conception of the 
real meaning and horrors of modern warfare, and were woefully 
ignorant of all that awaited us in the coming months. Thus we 
arrived in England early in July, 1915. Some proceeded imme- 
diately to the prisoner-of-war camps where civilian Germans who 
had lived in England and who were caught at the outbreak of the 
War were interned. Others of the "Squadron" were assigned to 
the British Y M C A staff for service on behalf of the thou- 
sands of Tommies crowding into the vast and numerous training 



THE FLYING SQUADRON 3 

camps — Tommies who a few days or weeks previous were awk- 
ward, raw recruits, but who were soon to battle with the pick 
of the trained, disciplined, and goose-stepping German soldiers 
and to demonstrate that they were a fair match for them, in spite 
of their comparatively short period of training. 

On the night of our landing in Liverpool we were confronted for 
the first time in our trip by war-time regulations. True, before 
landing we had to run the gauntlet of a rather strenuous passport 
examination, which had been a long drawn-out and tiresome 
procedure. We planned to leave Liverpool early in the morning 
for London and had, therefore, retired rather early. About mid- 
night we were aroused by a knock at the door and told that we 
had failed to report at the police headquarters in accordance with 
the regulations of the place. These required that all aliens 
arriving in any port town of England must report at the police 
headquarters within twenty-four hours after arrival. This we had 
neglected to do, for we had seen no notice to that effect, nor had 
we been informed of the existence of such a regulation. As we 
were leaving early in the morning there was no time to register at 
the police headquarters before our departure, so nothing remained 
but to get up, dress, and proceed to the police station, which 
we found after considerable search through the dimly lighted 
streets. After this experience we invariably made it a point to 
inquire as to existing regulations whenever we came to a new city 
or town. Naturally we laughed at the whole incident as more or 
less of a good joke on us. What a bane of our existence were these 
reports to police headquarters to become for some of us in the 
subsequent months! , 

Those of us who proceeded to the prison camps had had visions 
of the possibilities for service which a camp would present, but 
none of us were prepared for what actually confronted us in the 
way of opportunities. Our most sanguine hopes had not conceived 
of such possibilities. Visions of Libby Prison conditions such as 
some of us had were quickly dispelled as we visited these camps in 
England. Food conditions were good, organization efficient, 
equipment as good as in many of the mobilization camps for the 
British Tommies which we had seen. The lack of privacy and the 
monotony of the camp, both typical of prison life, were the features 
hardest to bear. In most of the camps we visited the prisoners 



4 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

had begun to organize various activities, such as schools, theatri- 
cals, athletics, and religious services, but all these were in an 
embryonic stage and needed assistance, outside help, and encour- 
agement. It was our task to stimulate interest and larger parti- 
cipation, as well as to provide such supplies as were needed for 
the development of the work. New activities were frequently 
promoted, such as garden contests, ways of developing the com- 
petitive spirit in athletics, promotion of work for the sick, organi- 
zation of handicraft departments, and the like. Our function as 
camp secretary was largely that of organizer, promoter, and friend, 
the connecting link, as it were, between the prisoner of war and the 
camp officials, as well as the outside world. 

Prison camp life implies monotony, stagnation, despair. Vari- 
ous agencies, such as the Red Cross and allied organizations of 
the homeland, worked from a distance, sending needed supplies, 
but confining themselves largely to food and clothing relief. The 
Association which had sent us to the camps attempted to do its 
work through the personal contact of its representatives with the 
prisoners themselves. This naturally implied a work within the 
camps. To help break the monotony of camp life, to keep the 
men active in body, mind, and soul, and thus to avoid stagnation 
and despair — these were the aims and the scope of the work of 
the camp secretary. The hearty and sincerely grateful coopera- 
tion of the prisoners in the proposals made by the secretaries was 
evidence that this type of service was appreciated and needed. 
Within the camps the men seemed to have no incentive unless it 
were the hope of escape. Time hung heavy. The barbed wire 
barricades on all sides, depriving them of liberty, were depressing 
and cruelly exasperating. Many of the prisoners in the course 
of years of such confinement fell victim to what was called by them 
"barbed wire sickness." This manifested itself in various ways. 
Personally, I have seen prisoners who were the best of friends in 
the early days of imprisonment develop into the most bitter 
enemies, even threatening to murder each other. Insanity and 
mental derangement were not uncommon, caused not so much by 
maltreatment as by the mere fact of deprivation of liberty and 
uninterrupted intimate association with the other prisoners of 
war, with no chance of ever being alone. 

Civilian prisoners of war, men interned because of nationality, 



THE FLYING SQUADRON 6 

suffered most intensely. There seemed to be no justification 
whatsoever for their imprisonment. It was not an uncommon 
occurrence to find such a civilian whose son was fighting in the 
army of the country which had interned him. The expatriation 
of the families of these men, which accompanied the internment 
was equally, if not more, cruel. Women and children, often born 
in England but German by virtue of marriage, unable to speak 
a word of German and not knowing a soul in Germany, were thus 
sent to Germany simply because they were German citizens. 
On the other hand, English women and children in Germany were 
similarly expatriated. The majority of the interned men had 
committed absolutely no offense. They were interned because they 
happened to have been born German or English respectively. 
Torn from home, all family ties broken, their business ruined or 
confiscated, behind barbed wire for years, and finally shipped to 
the land of their birth, more or less a strange land due to the many 
years of separation — such was the cruel fate of many a man. 

The writer recalls the pitiful appeal of such a repatriated man 
who called at the office. He implored us for some kind of work — 
anything, if only dishwashing, whereby he could at least make 
enough to live. He had been a university professor prior to his 
internment. It was natural that men placed under such trying 
circumstances should have welcomed the services which the Y 
MCA through its camp secretaries endeavored to render. 
Similarly, the military prisoners of war, men captured at the 
front or taken in sea battle, welcomed most whole-heartedly the 
efforts to help them make their enforced imprisonment interesting 
and, above all, profitable for each man. The writer will not take 
time to enter into details here regarding his work among the Ger- 
mans in the British prisoner-of-war camps. It was work well 
worth while, and one which proved of tremendous significance on 
entering Germany to engage in similar work for the Allied pris- 
oners of war. Nothing proved of greater value than to be able to 
relate to the German authorities the work done on behalf of 
German prisoners in England, and it served to open many doors 
in Germany for the promotion of our work among the Allied 
prisoners which would otherwise no doubt have remained closed. 
In England the offer to work on behalf of the German prisoners 
of war was usually well received by the authorities; in the 



6 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

camps themselves we were given most liberal support and per- 
missions. 

The transfer of civilian prisoners to the Isle of Man, where 
some 30,000 were to be interned, led to our desire to go there. 
The British authorities gave us all necessary permissions, and 
carrying these and a letter of recommendation from the British 
War Ministry, one of the members of the "Flying Squadron" and 
myself proceeded to the Isle of Man. We were to investigate 
the possibilities of service to the German prisoners of war, and to 
organize the work if conditions warranted. 

However, we very soon discovered that the situation was not as 
simple as we had thought. We were most courteously received 
by the secretary of the Governor, but after ten days' futile effort to 
secure his or the Governor's sanction to visit the camps, left 
completely baffled by the official and diplomatic maneuvers of the 
authorities. It seems that the Isle of Man has a type of home 
rule, and, while a part of Great Britain, is more or less independ- 
ent so far as its own affairs are concerned. Although some 
30,000 German civilians, the vast majority of all those held in 
England, were interned on the Isle of Man, the Young Men's 
Christian Association was never able to secure permission to carry 
on its work there. 



CHAPTER II 
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BERLIN 

My contract called for two months' service. I was, further- 
more, scheduled to return to my regular position at the Univer- 
sity of Kansas in time for the opening of the term, about the middle 
of September. Therefore the call which came to me to proceed 
to Germany, while welcome, was still difficult to accept. To do so 
implied remaining in Germany for the duration of the War, or at 
least for an indefinite period of time. True, in 1915 few people 
conceived it possible for the War to continue a year longer, cer- 
tainly not several years more. Desire for additional experience, 
and the pull of the opportunities in the new field as indicated by 
the great need, however, helped to bring an affirmative decision. 
Especially was this the case when headquarters reported they 
would adjust matters with my Board of Directors, to whom I was 
obligated to return in the fall. 

Instructions given me called for my departure for Germany via 
Holland on a Monday; but on coming to the steamship company's 
office to purchase my ticket, I was informed that a special permit 
from the British Home Office to leave the country was necessary 
before they could sell me a ticket. Nothing daunted at this 
difficulty, I serenely inquired of the agent the location of the office, 
and asked how long the shipping office would remain open, think- 
ing to return during the afternoon after having secured from the 
Home Office permit to leave that night. The man in charge had 
a good laugh, informing me that it would take at least three days 
to get the necessary permit; furthermore, that the Home Office 
closed at noon and that I would have to postpone my visit there 
until the following morning. Even then I little realized what was 
in store for me. Next morning I called at the Department for 
Permits, which was temporarily housed in wooden barracks in the 
courtyard of the Home Office building. Hundreds of Dutch, 
French, and Belgian people were there before me, apparently on 
a similar mission. My expectations of getting through quickly 

7 



8 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

dwindled rapidly. I had to wait an hour and a half before my 
name was finally called as a signal that it was my turn. I was 
then conducted by a man on duty to one of the officials in charge. 
Said official proceeded to "pump me dry" concerning my mission, 
my family history, the object of my trip to Holland, etc. After 
careful notation of all facts had been made and a close scrutiny of 
my passport completed, I was politely instructed to return on 
Friday, three days later, for my passport and for information as 
to whether a permit for my trip would be granted. In the mean- 
time my passport was retained at the Home Office. The American 
Embassy in Lonjdon did everything possible to facilitate my trip, 
making arrangements, among other things, for my passage through 
Holland and into Germany. Finally, on Saturday night, all was 
in readiness for my departure. I left via Tilbury Docks, London, 
for Flushing. 

It was one thing getting into a foreign country as a neutral, 
but quite a different thing getting out again. I had supposed 
that' the detailed scrutiny to which I had been subjected at the 
Home Office before the permit to leave the country had been 
granted completed the necessary red tape, but such was far from 
being the case. On arrival at the railway terminal leading to the 
docks all passengers had to run the gauntlet of four different 
officials before they were even permitted to approach the pier. 

My fellow-travelers were largely women and children, the 
families of Germans who had been interned. Such swarming 
and crowding as we tried to hurry the tedious process of inspec- 
tion of passports and baggage! No one was allowed to take more 
than ten dollars in English gold, and naturally no letters for a 
third person whatsoever. All written and printed matter was 
scrutinized most cautiously. 

With baggage examined and approved, and our passports 
properly endorsed, we had to submit all for final inspection to 
two other officials before we were permitted to board what I sup- 
posed was the steamer, but which proved to be merely a tug. 
This we discovered later was to take us out to the steamer lying 
at anchor somewhere in midstream. On board the tug all was 
dark and quiet, for there had been a Zeppelin raid the previous 
night. There was none of the shouting and bustle ordinarily 
attendant upon the going to sea of a passenger steamer. After 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BERLIN 9 

all passengers had passed the inspection and were aboard the tug, 
we steamed out into the darkness with as little noise as possible. 
Soon we sighted the big, dark hulk of our steamer looming ever 
larger as we approached. We drew up alongside and then were 
transferred from tug to steamer, the whole process being carried 
on in mysterious quiet. It was two A. m. when I finally rolled 
into my bunk, just four full hours after having come to the pier/ 

All along one had been fully conscious of the danger of the 
trip. When I purchased my ticket it was with the understanding 
that I relinquished all claims for damages in case of accident or 
death in transit. The precautions as to the location and use of 
life-saving belts, which were in evidence everywhere on board 
ship, forced upon us the realization that submarine danger was 
imminent. On the trip over we passed many war vessels and in 
pulling into the Dutch port we had to pass between two Dutch 
warships, apparently guarding the entrance to the harbor. Silent 
and vigilant, day in and day out, they did duty, keeping watch 
that Holland's neutrality should in no way be violated by the bel- 
ligerents. On the sand dunes along the shore we saw many sen- 
tinels silhouetted against the sky in silent and solitary watchfulness 
for enemy craft. Thus war inflicts heavy expenditures on neutral 
countries, which must inaugurate stringent measures for safe- 
guarding their neutrality. 

A hurried three days were spent in Holland, during which I 
visited one of the large refugee camps, where Belgians who had 
fled before the German invasion were housed. Several hundred 
thousand Belgian refugees were thus taken care of by the Dutch 
people, who taxed their resources to the limit in order to provide 
for these Belgian men, women, and children; these were absolutely 
destitute, home and household had been destroyed and they now 
possessed little more than the clothing on their backs. In the 
camp visited one learned that every week twelve to fifteen babies 
were born, and one could not help but wonder what their fate 
would be. The large barracks were partitioned off with carpet- 
bagging into individual rooms which served as homes for Belgian 
families, and here these babes were born. The camps were 
equipped with school, church, and amusement facilities. Food 
and clothing were largely furnished by the Dutch people them- 
selves. In addition, many thousands of families were taken into 



10 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

private homes and cared for. Holland did her utmost to provide 
adequately for these refugees, and the service which she thus 
rendered will never be forgotten by the Belgians who benefited 
thereby. 

As we boarded the train at Amsterdam bound for the German 
frontier, speculation among my fellow-passengers was keen as to 
the nature of the inspection to which one would be subjected at the 
frontier. It was rumored that the regulations had been greatly 
intensified and made more rigorous. Details of how spies had been 
caught, the mode of personal body examination, and the like, 
were all vividly told by those who had recently crossed the border. 
The thrill of excitement in anticipation of sigh ,s to be seen and 
experiences to be had grew as we approached Bentheim, the 
frontier station through which we were to pass on our way to 
Berlin. 

Our wildest dreams or speculations as to the examination at 
the frontier, however, had not conceived what actually awaited 
us. It was microscopic in detail and thoroughness. Each and 
every individual was examined as only German scientific thorough- 
ness for details and minutiae could conceive. From the inner 
band of my hat to the soles and heels of my shoes, including all 
between these extremities, nothing escaped scrutiny. Ushered 
into a small private booth with a German soldier in attendance, I 
was compelled to undress piece by piece, each garment as it was 
removed being carefully examined by the attendant official. All 
pockets had to be emptied. Women inspectors were employed for 
the inspection of women travelers. Not a single scrap of paper, 
whether blank or written upon, or even a newspaper used to wrap 
up various articles, was permitted to be retained. Books, even 
my Bible and photographs— all were temporarily confiscated, to 
be sent to my address later, no doubt after having been subjected 
to most careful inspection. As for baggage examination, nothing 
could have been worse. The same occurred in the large Customs 
House rooms. As trunks and suitcases were opened and one 
article after another was taken out and held up for all to gaze 
upon, while the officials carefully examined it for hidden papers 
or forbidden supplies, many a traveler was placed in a most 
humiliating position and forced to blush as the secrets of his bag- 
gage thus became the. objects of public gaze. I recall the ordeal 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BERLIN 11 

of one German lady who had just arrived from Brazil with four 
trunks full of her belongings, the grueling inspection of which 
lasted fully an hour. 

One was next ushered into the presence of an official in civilian 
clothing, no doubt a secret service man; he attempted to ferret 
out one's secret thoughts. Cross-examined to the extreme by 
him, one had to be expert or callous to avoid baring all of one's 
innermost thoughts, so far as one's political status was concerned. 
The whole procedure was carried on in a most courteous but 
business-like manner, with a high-handed atmosphere of superior- 
ity of the officials in charge that smacked of Prussian militarism, 
as we had conceived it. 

After several hours' delay caused by these examinations, I 
boarded the German train waiting for the passengers, which was 
to take me to Berlin. The train was held until all passengers had 
gone through the grueling mill of inspection and had boarded the 
train. 

As we pulled through the country in the fully equipped train, 
including diners and sleepers, one could not help but be impressed 
by the high state of cultivation of all fields and the general splendid 
up-keep of all farms. The villages and cities through which we 
passed were liberally beflagged and garlanded, and everywhere 
throughout the land church bells were tolling. This was being 
done, so I learned, in token of the recently proclaimed victories 
of the German armies in their advance into Russia. The occasion 
of the celebration was the capture of Kowno, Wilna, Georgeo- 
witsch, and Minsk — cities which fell into German hands after 
the decisive routing of the Russians at the Mazurian Lakes battle. 
I learned later that this method of observance was always utilized 
whenever a victory at the battle front was reported. Shrewdly 
and wisely holidays were granted the school children on such 
occasions. No more effective means could have been employed 
to educate and train the children to worship military power and 
prowess. It was just one of the many methods employed to mili- 
tarize the people and to win their allegiance to the militaristic 
policy of the Government. 

As we continued our journey towards Berlin one was more and 
more impressed by the evidence of German thoroughness, order- 
liness, and efficiency everywhere apparent. Aside from the sol- 



12 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

diers one saw at every railway station, and the relatives bidding 
farewell to departing soldiers, it was hard to realize that we were 
in a country at war with a large part of the world. Organization 
and preparedness seemed so thorough that the emergency of war 
had had comparatively little effect on the everyday routine of the 
nation's life. Berlin itself proved a marvelous revelation, with its 
brilliant lights, its busy thoroughfares, and its crowded caf6s 
and restaurants. It was in marked contrast to the London which 
I had left, where innumerable recruiting and war loan posters in 
brilliant colors, streets darkened at night for fear of Zeppelin 
raids, and searchlights flashing fitfully across the inky blackness 
of the night skies in search of lurking death-dealing danger over- 
head, reminded one that the country was at war. 

While London was comparatively dead so far as night life was 
concerned, Berlin was gay and throbbing with life. All was 
ablaze, theaters and cafe 1 life never more gorgeous and populous. 
A war decree had prohibited all public dances for the duration of 
the war, so that dancers, deprived of their favorite form of enter- 
tainment, sought the theaters and movies and cafes for amusement. 
Here the usual great variety of cakes and drinks could still be had. 
Whipped cream was abundantly served with coffee, chocolate, and 
cake; but the emergencies of war were to sound the death decree 
for whipped cream very soon. After October, 1915, it was no 
longer served in public. Business seemed more alive than ever; 
department stores were crowded with a seemingly prosperous 
public anxious to spend money. At the time of my arrival in 
August, 1915, no food restrictions, with the exception of bread 
rationing, were enforced. Excellent meals of the heavy German 
variety were to be had in all restaurants and hotels. The a la 
carte menus offered an infinite variety of food. Berlin was a 
busy, bustling, and prosperous metropolis. The upkeep of the 
streets, parks, and public places was vigilantly and scrupulously 
maintained. Shop windows contained elaborate displays of 
expensive luxuries in clothing, jewelry, furs, knickknacks, and art 
subjects. Aside from the presence of multitudinous soldiers and 
a shortage of good autos and taxis, life appeared normal. 

In numerous store windows, especially those of newspaper 
offices, large maps showing the location and general position of the 
battle fronts were displayed. The movements of the troops were 



< < < < 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BERLIN 13 

indicated by means of colored-headed pins. At all hours of the 
day great crowds of Germans could be seen industriously studying 
the maps and conversing with one another on the movements 
indicated: here the western front, there the eastern front, and 
over yonder the southern front were shown. What a wonderful 
education in geography was thus unconsciously .given the people! 
The shops were flooded with excellent photographs of the scenes 
and activities on the battle fronts; photograph albums, and 
histories of the War on the instalment plan were infinite in number. 

Unlike England, where the campaigns for recruits and war 
loans were largely promoted by means of immense colored placards 
and posters, Berlin maintained its peace-time prim appearance. 
With compulsory military service recruiting was unnecessary, 
and little publicity was needed to promote the war loans. So 
thoroughly had the people been imbued with the spirit of sub- 
missive loyalty to the Government and its military policy that 
they gave freely and with little persuasion. This attitude of ready 
support made poster publicity largely unnecessary. In London 
especially, and no doubt throughout England, the Government was 
compelled to requisition halls, gymnasiums, and the like to serve 
as quarters for the thousands of recruits that responded to Eng- 
land's call in her hour of danger. In Germany the many years of 
preparation for war and the military policy of the Government 
had given the country adequate facilities, in the form of innumer- 
able barracks, to take care of the large numbers of men mobil- 
ized -by the German Government at the outbreak of the War. 
Only in rare cases was it necessary to requisition private quarters 
for the soldiers. It was in this sense, as in many others, that 
Germany was fully prepared for the War, whereas England was 
not, so far as land war was concerned. 

One was told, with a feeling of pride on the part of the narrator, 
of Germany's marvelous system of preparedness, of how every 
station-master, in stations, large or small, had been in possession 
of sealed orders for years. These orders gave instructions as to 
the train schedules that would go immediately into effect on a 
declaration of war with France. Full details regarding the move- 
ment of the troop trains were explained. One was further told 
how every station-master had been instructed as to the exact 
time when these orders were to be opened in case of the emergency 



14 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

of war. Largely owing to this marvelous foresight, the train 
schedules during the overtaxed and crowded days of the mobili- 
zation and transportation of hundreds of thousands of troops were 
carried through almost to the minute. One very soon recognized 
that for Germany war was a business. All was in most efficient 
readiness for war, so that when it came the regular routine of life 
continued to go on with comparatively little interruption or alter- 
ation. True, in Wilhelmstrasse, the home of the War Ministry 
and Foreign Offices, officialdom became more active and the offices 
there developed into veritable beehives of activity; but even 
there it was a year or more before expansion of the War Ministry 
became necessary in view of the unanticipated long duration and 
extent of the War. Throughout the machine seemed to be in excel- 
lent working order and of practically one hundred per cent effi- 
ciency. 

On my first Sunday in Berlin I visited one of the better known 
churches where a prominent clergyman spoke. His text was 
"Love Your Enemies." His plea was for the principle of the Good 
Samaritan; his challenge, mercy in this merciless war. I wondered 
at the time if he were adroitly rebuking the Government for its 
ruthless war tactics, for the invasion of Belgium, and for the sinking 
of the Lusitania. 

I had heard much about the Lusitania medals supposedly cast 
in memory of that awful catastrophe, but diligent search on my 
part failed to reveal any of them, although I did find a number of 
"Gott strafe England" medals. Conversation with the Germans 
revealed that they all regarded the invasion of Belgium as unfor- 
tunate, but a national necessity. Conscientious German Chris- 
tians seemed sincere as they endeavored to justify the invasion. 
The weak argument was invariably advanced that if Germany had 
not invaded Belgium, France would have done so. They went 
on to explain that it was not a war of aggression on the part of 
Germany, but one of protection against the so-termed encircling 
policy, "Einkreisung-Politik," of British diplomacy. Apparently 
they forgot that they themselves were indirectly responsible for 
this "encirclement," caused by their refusal to abide by the Hague 
Conference proposals. There was no doubt on the part of all of 
the victorious conclusion of the War for the Germans. 

Feeling against America was growing. It was declared that 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BERLIN 15 

American bullets were killing Germans, that it was typical of 
American hypocrisy to pray on Sunday for the children of the 
fathers at war or to send toys for the children, and on the very 
same ships to send ammunition to kill the fathers of these children. 
Among the officers feeling against America was more than bitter. 
The delivery of ammunition to the Allies by America threatened 
to thwart the success of their plans. In a death grapple with a 
strong opponent, over whom they seemed to be triumphing, it 
was exasperating in the extreme to have a third party enter the 
combat, not as a direct opponent and yet threatening to deprive 
them of their victory. One of the officers of the War Ministry, in 
conversation with one of our departing secretaries, gave expression 
to this bitterness when he declared that some day America would 
be at war with Japan, and that he would then do all in his power 
to provide Japan with ammunition, even if it required complete 
sacrifice of his personal fortune to do so. Nevertheless, there was 
more or less respect for America and no desire to have her join 
the Entente. It is true that some of the more rabid Pan-Germans 
ridiculed and minimized the strength of America as a fighting 
machine. On the whole, America and her representatives were 
judiciously and courteously handled. Accusation of violation 
of neutrality was universal, but rarely was there an answer when 
attention was called to the fact that it was Germany who objected 
to the proposal made at the Hague Conference that a neutral 
country should not be permitted to ship ammunition to any 
country at war. The common people were surprised and aston- 
ished when they were told of this, evidently not having heard of 
it previously. 

The first burst of enthusiasm at the outbreak of the War, of 
which invariably everyone spoke and which was substantiated 
by the photographs shown, had already subsided. The intense 
wave of religious life in Germany which accompanied the first few 
months after war began had passed. It seemed as though the 
Church, long accustomed to be the mouthpiece of the State rather 
than of God, was unable to capitalize the religious awakening, 
for it had nothing vital or spiritual to offer those who were seeking 
for light, and the people had settled down to a more or less normal 
life again with considerable indifference to the War, which in most 
minds was sure to end victoriously for Germany by Christmas, 



16 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

1915. Most families had one or more of their members at the 
front. This alone helped to maintain vital interest in the fighting, 
and the people had a thorough faith in the efficiency of their 
Government and its war machine. 




4f 4'J 

American Supplies Ready for Distribution 
to Prisoners, Rastatt 




Happy with Ten Days' Food Sent in by American Red Cross for 
Americans at Rastatt 



CHAPTER III 

PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 

Into such an atmosphere I came to assist in developing the 
extensive relief work on behalf of the Allied prisoners of war, so 
well begun by Dr. A. C. Harte, who had been in Germany since 
February, 1915, as representative of the International Committee 
of Young Men's Christian Associations. To him all credit is due 
for having succeeded in securing most liberal permission for the 
work. On April 15, 1915, in the camp Gottingen the first War 
Prison Y. M. C. A. building in the world was dedicated, as a result 
of his efforts. Dr. Harte wrote, describing this: 

"The builcUng is thirty by ninety feet. It contains a large hall 
thirty by sixty feet, which will be used for worship by pastors, 
priests, and rabbis, for concerts and lectures, and as a reading room; 
a small hall fifteen by twenty-four feet, which has a quiet room for 
prayer, also for choir and orchestra practice; and three small 
rooms for educational work. 

"In a brief address one of the prisoners of war called the new 
building 'our home,' and many a head bent low when one of the 
Camerons with a high tenor voice sang, 'Be it ever so humble, 
there's no place like home.' To men far away from home and 
under the most trying conditions a home had been given." 

After having initiated the work' in several camps in Germany, 
Dr. Harte proceeded to Russia and Siberia to establish work there 
on behalf of the German prisoners of war. The fundamental 
principles underlying our work maintained that it should be 
impartial service to all prisoners of war irrespective of nationality 
or religious creed, and, further, that it should be of a reciprocal 
nature, that is, whatever was undertaken in one country should be 
undertaken in other countries for the prisoners there. The visit 
of Dr. Harte and the large service which he rendered to the German 
and Austrian prisoners in Russia and Siberia served as one of our 
best arguments in securing liberal permissions from the German 
Government for work on behalf of the Allied prisoners in Germany. 

Shortly after my arrival in Berlin Dr. Harte made arrange- 
ments for another trip through Russia and Siberia. Ignorance, 

17 



18 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

lack of organization and facilities, and the tremendous area over 
which prisoners were scattered resulted in most grievous conditions 
in the prison camps among the Germans and Austrians in Russia. 
Spotted fever was prevalent in many of the camps. Mail service, 
where it existed, was extremely bad, and statistics concerning 
captures of Germans were most meager and long delayed. Thou- 
sands of German relatives had not heard from their loved ones for 
six months and more, and many had had no word since the reported 
capture. Hence the departure of a neutral to Siberia in the inter- 
ests of the prisoner* was heralded as most welcome, and our head- 
quarters soon became an extensive information bureau for missing 
Germans in Russia and hundreds of letters, photographs, and 
gifts, were sent there, to be taken by Dr. Harte and distributed 
among the prisoners. 

During the first few weeks in Berlin, while waiting for my permit 
to visit camps in Germany, I was kept busy receiving these German 
relatives with their burden of anxiety for loved ones in far-away 
Russia and Siberia. The mere mention of Siberia caused them to 
shudder, as they thought of the clanging chains and cruel treatment 
of exiled political prisoners and the intense cold which one ordi- 
narily associated with Siberia. Most relatives imagined the worst, 
and as weeks and months passed without word they believed 
their fears substantiated. It seemed an endless procession of 
heartsick people who came to us in those days to unload their 
sorrow, to receive consolation through our promises to serve and 
do all possible for the missing one, and to go away inspired with 
new hope that he was well and that he would receive help. 

Quotations from my letters written during those days will no 
doubt give the best picture of the work we were called upon to do 
prior to Dr. Harte's departure. A letter written Sunday, August 
29, 1915, contained the following: 

"After church I came to my room in anticipation of a few hours' 
quiet to write letters to the loved ones and friends. These letters 
had been ruthlessly cast aside for the more important and pressing 
work of catering to our many callers. I had just taken my pen 
in hand preparatory to writing when there was a knock on the door. 
On my 'Herein' the porter appeared, announcing that there were 
two ladies who wished to see me. Quickly putting on my coat, 
I welcomed them as they were ushered in. They proved to be a 
sister and a friend of a soldier who, on the basis of the last reports 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 19 

received, had been wounded and taken prisoner by the Russians 
the previous September. They had had no word from him since 
and were completely ignorant of his fate. Would we help to find 
him? Would we take a letter to him? Twenty marks, about 
five dollars, were given us to buy him what he might need, under- 
wear or winter clothing. What of the possibility that he was still 
alive? Would we be sure to notify them in case we secured any 
news of him? Then a 'thank you,' an apology for having inter- 
rupted, and a final 'May God bless you.' Such was the trend of 
the conversation. 

"Hardly had they left when a Baroness was ushered in. She 
had much the same story. Her husband had been missing over 
a year and had been presumably captured by the Russians. 
Would we try to ascertain his fate? Dared she hope that he was 
still alive? 

"Next came a mother of the poorer class, with a two-year-old 
child. Timid, full of apology for interrupting, she related her 
story. The tears came to her eyes as she asked about her husband 
and the baby's papa. What a contrast the two presented — the 
mother, heavy hearted and vainly endeavoring to choke back the 
sobs that persisted in coming as she feared the worst, the baby 
unmindful and unconscious of the mother's pain and grief, smiling 
and reaching playfully for my watch, as I tried to amuse her to 
relieve the mother of her worry. 

"Then an elderly widowed mother came, imploring us for news 
of her only son who had been missing a year, and then a wife who 
had lost her husband and her only brother. She wanted us to 
help her sixty-year old father, imprisoned as a civilian in Russia. 
These women are the real heroines. Thes,e unknown and unsung 
aching hearts at home, away from the excitement of the battle- 
field, bear all the anxiety, the uncertainty of the fate of their loved 
ones, and how unflinchingly, uncomplainingly, and courageously 
they bear it all. 

"Thus it has been all this week. Do you wonder that when 
night comes, after a fifteen-hour day of similar painful conferences 
with quiet, courageous men and women whose hearts ache with 
anxiety concerning the fate of their missing loved ones, one is 
completely exhausted? What is so trying is that we can merely 
console them with promises, for we have no facts. All is assump- 
tion and prayer that it may be well with the absent one." 

The following interview which occurred a year or so later is 
even more typical of many in which the writer was a participant. 
The woman came to the office, and timorously and apologetically 
asked if she could see the secretary. She was in mourning, but 



20 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

so many women were that one was not particularly struck by the 
fact, and much less realized the tragedy in her case. This was 
her story: Her husband had been a prisoner in Russia now for 
some eighteen months. She had written to him regularly, but 
apparently few of her letters reached him. In all four of the cards 
she had had from him since his capture — she had them carefully 
stowed away in an envelope with her — he complained and wanted 
to know why she did not write. Some time after his capture, the 
little three-year-old girl had died of diphtheria. She had not 
written him the sad news, fearing the effect of it on him, but in a 
letter which seemed to have been the only word he had received 
from her she had sent him greetings from the five-year-old boy 
but had made no mention of the daughter. And he replied, asking 
why his darling girl had not sent him love and kisses also. When 
this card reached her the little boy had also died, and now she had 
come to the secretary for advice as to whether she should tell the 
father of this. further calamity in the family or not. Her heart 
full and heavy with grief, she was still able to add, "God gave us 
the children and so had a right to take them again when He saw 
fit, but oh! may He only bring back my husband safe to me!" 
Another letter,. written September 28, 1915, read as follows: 

"Berlin continues, outwardly at least, her normal life. The 
apparent indifference evidenced on the streets provokes one. 
True, black is becoming the prevailing color in the dress of women. 
One by one the large department stores are establishing special 
departments for mourning dress and costumes. Soldiers are every- 
where; the newspapers are given over largely to war news. But 
hotels and cafes continue to be crowded, and amusements, aside 
from dancing, are plentiful and well attended. Certain war limi- 
tations are being proposed and enforced. Thus bread is hence- 
forth to be issued only on presentation of the so-termed bread 
cards, issued each individual by the authorities. The weekly 
allowance, however, is adequate for everyone. The use of the 
bread card does not imply a shortage of bread, so the Government 
explains, but has been introduced largely as a wise forethought in 
case the War is prolonged over a number of years. It is to prevent 
extravagant waste and to conserve the supply. One wonders if 
the authorities have come to a realization that the War is to be a 
longer affair than was at first contemplated. Similarly, whipped 
cream, the Berlin cafe" visitor's toothsome delight and hobby, can 
no longer be served and because of this these Berliners are dis- 
gruntled and complaining. 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA , 21 

"One is impressed with the comparatively quiet way in which 
the victories, of which there have been many of late, are celebrated. 
I mentioned in a previous letter I wrote you my impressions as I 
entered Germany. In Berlin flags everywhere are unfurled from 
the housetops, windows, churches, and balconies. The church 
bells ring quietly, it seems, not noisily or boisterously, as one 
would be inclined to think. There seems to be no note of ecstasy 
in their ringing. It impresses one as a most solemn, dead in earnest 
affair. There is no loud hurrahing, no shouting. People con- 
verse quietly as they tell one another of the victory and discuss its 
possible effect on the outcome of the War. In every religious 
meeting thanks are given to God, the German God, for the victory. 
In one service the leader offered thanks, saying, 'We Germans were 
not worthy of God's grace, for we, too, have sinned mightily. 
Forgive us and above all keep us humble in victory, for to Thee is 
all honor due.' It is a righteous war for the Germans, and God 
seems, to them at least, to be giving them victory and deliverance 
from their enemies, as of old He delivered the Israelites. The 
worship of God as Father of all is changed to a worship of God 
the Lord of Hosts, the German being the hosts. Christ enters 
little into their Christian life and thought. More and more their 
religion impresses one as an Old Testament religion and purely 
national in its conception. 

"These are busier days than ever. I am on the go from seven 
A. M. to eleven-thirty and twelve p. m. every day, going at break- 
neck speed and with feverish haste to keep up with the demands 
made upon us. Innumerable personal interviews, hundreds of 
letters of inquiry that require answering, purchase of supplies and 
their shipment to the camps for the prisoners here in Germany, 
official visits and conferences — these keep us busy and help to 
make the days altogether too short for us. This past week has 
been awful from the standpoint of work and nervous strain. Inter- 
viewers came in such numbers that I had to take them three or 
four at a time. The hotel clerk for several days made note of the 
number of callers and said they averaged fifty to seventy a day. 
Practically all were seeking information regarding missing ones, 
who had presumably been captured by the Russians, or who had 
completely disappeared. 

"In two cases during the week we had an experience which has 
fully compensated us for whatever effort and sacrifice we may have 
made thus far. When Dr. Harte returned from his first visit to 
Russia and Siberia he brought a number of photographs illustrat- 
ing conditions and life in the camps for German prisoners of war 
there. During the course of an interview with the wife of a missing 
man I showed her these photographs in an attempt to console her 
by demonstrating that the camps were in fairly good shape. As 



22 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OS* GERMANY 

she casually glanced over them one by one I saw her suddenly grip 
one of the photographs firmly in her hands for closer examination, 
then run to the window and cry out, 'It is he, it is he.' She be- 
came hysterical with excitement and joy as she tried to point out 
her husband in the photograph to me. Tears of joy came to her 
eyes as she babbled incessantly and implored permission to have 
a copy of the photograph made. Her husband had been missing 
over a year and here in the photograph he had come to life again. 
The next day in a similar manner a sister discovered her missing 
brother in one of the photographs. As I witnessed the joy and 
hope kindling in these two, I could not but wish and pray that we 
might have enough similar photographs so that every anxious 
mother, wife, or sister might discover her loved one in some one of 
them. 

"Temporarily I am to remain in Berlin as head of our work for 
the Allied prisoners in Germany. Incidentally I shall serve as 
intermediary between the prisoners in foreign lands and their 
relatives here, as well as a clearing-house for the many requests 
for information coming from our offices' in Paris, London, and 
Petrograd regarding Allied prisoners of war in Germany. If 
time permits I shall endeavor to take charge of some work in a 
number of the prisoner-of-war camps near Berlin." 

In order to place our work on as sound and firm a foundation as 
possible, it seemed essential for us to confer with the representa- 
tives of the German Young Men's Christian Association move- 
ment in the interests of the prisoner-of-war work. For this purpose 
a conference with the leaders of the German Y M C A movement 
was called to meet at Barmen. There we discussed fully our 
plans and program and secured promise of hearty cooperation and 
commitment from them. 

Dr. Harte, who attended this conference, was anxious to see as 
many German camps as possible prior to his departure for Russia, 
in order to be able to speak intelligently on the condition of the 
same and the treatment of the prisoners therein when confronted 
by the questioning Russians whom he would see when he went to 
Russia. We therefore utilized this conference trip for visitation 
of a number of camps along the line. Crefeld, a large officers' 
camp, was first visited. Then we proceeded to a camp at Mayence. 
Everywhere it was necessary for us to report at the police head- 
quarters immediately after arrival and again just prior to our 
departure. The authorities thus kept unusually close tab on all 
aliens, neutral as well as enemy. As we traveled along the Rhine 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 23 

from Cologne to Wiesbaden, one marveled at the wonderful 
scenery along the line. An excellent dinner was served in the din- 
ing car and as we sped along the shore in the twilight of a Sunday 
evening past the occasional castle or ruin, the vine-clad hillsides, 
the quiet dark waters reflecting like myriads of stars the many 
lights along the shore, one was hushed into silent admiration of 
it all. It seemed incomprehensible that just a few hundred miles 
away from this most peaceful of scenes men were losing their 
lives in bloody carnage. 

The camp at Mayence was one in which many British officers 
were interned. The camp itself was in an old fort, good in most 
respects, with the exception of a lack of adequate grounds for ath- 
letics. These fortunately were later secured for use by the 
officers. Wiesbaden itself was hard to recognize as the great 
summer resort and sanatorium to which Germany's rich and many 
foreign guests came in peace days, when patients from all over 
the world crowded its hotels and sanatoria. Unlike Berlin, it 
was quiet and depressingly dead. Instead of the world's men and 
women of wealth and influence, another class of patients had 
taken possession, revealing the effects of modern warfare on human- 
ity. Most of the hotels had been commandeered and requisitioned 
by the army authorities and were now being used as hospitals 
for convalescent and wounded soldiers. Most of the men we saw 
had had one or more limbs amputated or were blind. Scores and 
scores of these men could be seen in the afternoon, as they were 
escorted by Red Cross nurses for an outing. They were invariably 
a cheery lot of fellows, everyone seemingly keen and anxious to be 
made whole again in order to return to the front. Enthusiasm 
for the War was still vital among them. There was no depression, 
no hatred or bitterness toward the War, such as developed among 
the men in later years. War was still more or less of a novelty; 
the spirit of loyalty to the Fatherland was still strong. A visit 
to the Kurhaus, a pretentious, palatial building in most beautiful 
park-like grounds, revealed a thousand or more holiday guests, 
many wounded soldiers in wheel chairs or men on leave of absence 
with their relatives. A good orchestra furnished music on the 
terrace, where an excellent five-course supper was served. The 
music, the peaceful, beautiful surroundings, the chatter of the 
visitors, all made it difficult again to realize that less than one 



24 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

hundred miles away horrible warfare was claiming its toll of human 
lives. 

From Wiesbaden we returned to Berlin. I had made sleeper 
reservations the previous morning, but on inquiry just before our 
departure was politely told that no more berths were available. 
That meant sitting up all night in a small coupe 1 or compartment 
with five or more other individuals. We had visions of closed 
doors and windows and frightfully stuffy air to endure for a whole 
night. The German fears a draft more than anything else and 
would rather suffocate than subject his corpulent anatomy to a 
draft and its imaginary dangers. This aversion becomes evident 
at no time so much as when one is traveling with him. We decided 
to proceed on our journey, nevertheless, in spite of anticipated 
misery and discomfort, and left at ten-ten, arriving in Frankfort- 
on-the-Main at eleven-eleven, where we had to change trains. 
Everything was packed full, although they were running two extra 
sections of the train. After much skirmishing and elbowing we 
finally got located, Dr. Harte in a non-smoking compartment, I 
in a smoker with three wounded soldiers, a dog, and an army cook 
who was returning for an eight-day furlough from the western 
front. 

Anticipated visions and sensations were one by one realized and 
endured. Windows were hermetically sealed. I opened the 
door of the compartment leading to the aisle. The army cook 
closed it immediately, saying, "Es zieht zu viel," meaning, "It is 
too much of a draft." How I learned to hate, that term during 
the coming months! Then one by one my traveling companions 
began to smoke, and not very good tobacco at that. The windows 
were soon covered with moisture in beadlike drops, the air became 
stuffy and suffocating in the extreme. I tried to sleep so as to 
become unconscious of it all, but my face burned, my throat and 
nose were feverishly dry; I was miserable. I listened to the mono- 
syllabic, spasmodic, and intermittent attempts at conversation 
among my companions. Personally I refrained from entering 
into the conversation, for my foreign accent would soon disclose 
my nationality and unwelcome argument would be the result. 

The cook was a most whole-hearted chap and seemed well 
provisioned for the trip, whereas his three companions had appar- 
ently had no foresight in providing' for themselves. From some- 




American Baseball Game with Russian Spectators 




Volley Ball in American Prisoner-of-War Camp, Rastatt 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 25 

where in his baggage the cook got out a bag of pears, evidently 
only three, but without a moment's hesitation he distributed them 
to his three wounded companions; then came some knackwurst 
sandwiches. Again only three, and again these were distributed 
to the wounded men. Next the cook pulled out a bottle of wine, 
of which he took the first sip, a requirement of German etiquette, 
before passing it to the others with the request that they finish the 
bottle. It did one good to see his unselfish generosity, which was 
both spontaneous and genuine. 

The wine started conversation, and one after another wonderful 
tales of trench life and fighting were told. One of the men had 
been hit by a piece of American shrapnel shell. He placed con- 
siderable emphasis on the fact that it was an American shell. 
This had crushed most of his right foot. How he cursed the 
Americans for his mishap. Another had been hit by what he 
claimed was a dum-dum bullet, which had torn away most of the 
thumb on his left hand. Unfortunately the wound, now over two 
months old, had failed to heal but had continued to fester and 
eat away. He was now bound for a special hospital to have the 
hand amputated. He said he hoped to save the hand, so that 
he could go back to the front, this time to the Russian front. 
He had been in the west and was anxious for the wider experience. 
During the night he dozed off but moaned most of the time, the 
slowly eating gangrene causing intense pain. The third soldier 
had a bad leg wound. The dog belonged to the cook and had been 
picked up as a stray in one of the deserted villages of the war-zone 
in France and immediately adopted. It was now being brought 
home to become the playmate of the cook's children. Such were 
one's traveling companions in Germany during those days. Inter- 
esting as they were, it was a long, tedious trip to Berlin, where we 
arrived at eight in the morning. 

Upon our return to Berlin, final hurried preparations were made 
for Dr. Harte's trip to Russia and Siberia. Naturally the War 
Ministries of both Germany and Austria jrere anxious that the 
utmost possible should be done on behalf of the prisoners of war 
in the Far East, and many were the final conferences with the 
officials. Both Governments appropriated considerable sums of 
money, to be used unconditionally by Dr. Harte in furnishing 
such relief as might be necessary to the prisoners whom he was to 



26 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

visit. Relatives continued to flock to our office, bringing letters, 
money, and parcels, and pitifully imploring us to take them 
along. Finally, on October first, Dr. Harte was ready to leave 
on his momentous trip; but this was only after the most strenuous 
siege of grinding work that we had ever been through. 

He left with bag and baggage, largely the latter — to enumerate: 
Three immense sacks with so-called Liebesgaben, "Love gifts," for 
German and Austrian prisoners in Russia; one large sack with 
letters and cards conveying the love and heart-yearnings of many 
hundreds of mothers, fathers, and wives to their beloved ones in 
far-away prisons; two immense cases of musical instruments 
contributed by one of the Berlin music firms; a basket trunk with 
additional parcels for prisoners of war; one large box of songbooks 
containing the German popular folk songs; finally, Dr. Harte's 
own trunk and personal luggage. He was a veritable Santa 
Claus. 

To cap the climax, he took with him a Russian officer who had 
lost a leg and had been a prisoner of war. This man's uncle was 
a prominent official in Russia, and the return of the man, largely 
the result of Dr. Harte's efforts, would no doubt greatly facilitate 
our work for prisoners of war in Russia. The privilege of taking 
this man with him was granted to Dr. Harte, in personal appre- 
ciation of his invaluable services to prisoners of war, by the head 
of the German War Prisoners' Department, notwithstanding 
considerable opposition on the part of other members of the Ger- 
man staff. Naturally, Dr. Harte endeavored to secure the release 
of some invalided German prisoner in Russia in exchange, and 
succeeded, so that on his return from Russia to Germany he was 
able to bring one with him. 

Obviously, all the baggage above enumerated greatly compli- 
cated his trip, for in war time customs inspection and censor 
examination at frontiers are most rigorous. Especially on entry 
to Russia considerable difficulty was encountered when these vast 
quantities of German correspondence were found by the Russian 
censors at the frontier. (It should be stated that upon Dr. Harte's 
return to Germany he brought with him, with the approval of the 
authorities, letters from the< relatives of the Russian prisoners in 
Germany, thus maintaining the reciprocal principle or basis of our 
work.) However, we felt no difficulty too great to endure, for 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 27 

these letters were in many cases the very first home messages re- 
ceived by the prisoners of war after months, if not years, of silence. 

The classification of all details, card cataloging of data, and all 
correspondence in connection with the above had been my task in 
the four weeks preceding. The banking and receipting of the 
considerable sums of money which came from individuals, for 
use in purchasing supplies for specific war prisoners, was also 
included in the task. Preparations were at once made to transmit 
to the relatives whatever information Dr. Harte might send about 
the individual prisoners for whom inquiries had been made. 
For many of the relatives those were most anxious days of waiting. 
It was difficult for them to be patient and yet we could give them 
no other assurance than that it would require four to six weeks, 
if not longer, before any information could be received. Within 
a week after Dr. Harte's departure several had written, wanting 
to know if we had had any word. The suspense was particularly 
trying for those who had missing loved ones. The German War 
Ministry's reports invariably classified the battle statistics on the 
basis of those killed, captured, wounded, and missing. In the 
case of the last named class months and in several instances years 
elapsed before any positive information was secured. 

At the time one wondered whether one could call this type of 
work done since my arrival in Germany Y M C A work. None 
the less, it was definite Christian service and gave us much prestige, 
as well as entry into influential circles, since many of the inquiries 
came from and were about persons of high rank and influence. 

In connection with our work of forwarding correspondence and 
endeavoring to secure information regarding the fate of German 
prisoners in Russia and Siberia, the following incidents with their 
tale of human tragedy are typical of thousands of similar cases. 
Thus we received from a son who was a prisoner in Russia a letter 
in which he requested us to get in touch with his mother and ask 
her to send him money. We addressed a letter to the mother in 
question at the address given, only to have the letter returned to 
us with the notation, cruel in its brevity, "Carried off by the 
Russians." 

The wife of a missing captain had appealed to us to make every 
possible effort in locating her husband, who was supposedly a 
prisoner in Russia or Siberia. After several months of investi- 



28 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

gation we finally located a captain of the same name as her hus- 
band. Without any question, she immediately began to write 
him letters full of love and anxious hope for his well-being. This 
she continued to do for nearly a year, when finally a letter from 
the man to whom she had been writing arrived with the heart- 
breaking information that he, although of the same name and rank, 
was not her husband. Later investigations revealed that her 
husband had been killed. 

Similarly, another wife had been writing to her husband at the 
address he had given on the first card sent after his capture by 
the Russians. A year later our investigations, made in an effort 
to discover why she never received letters from him, revealed the 
fact that he had died shortly after the writing of his first card. 
She had been living thus in hope and writing to him for a full year 
before the tragic word arrived that he had been dead all that time. 

The desperateness of the prisoners in Russia is perhaps best 
illustrated by the following incident of an Austrian officer. It 
seems that he completely starved himself, in order to weaken his 
body sufficiently to make it more susceptible to tuberculosis. 
Not content with becoming infected in the normal way, he secured 
the sputum from tubercular comrades and by means of a self-made 
atomizer inhaled the infectious sputum. The result was that he 
contracted a violent case of tuberculosis. On examination by 
the Russian medical mission which determined whether or not he 
was eligible for repatriation, he was passed and returned to Austria 
via Germany. The disease, however, had been so virulent that 
it was necessary for him to proceed at once to a tuberculosis 
sanitarium, in the hope of recovering from the self-inflicted disease. 

Another prisoner, this time a German, who was blind in one eye, 
simulated total blindness. He had schooled himself for weeks 
previous, so as not to wink with the seeing eye when some object 
was suddenly placed in front of it. Application was made for 
repatriation on the basis of his blindness. One can realize his 
anxiety when the medical mission came to examine him and to 
determine whether or not he was eligible for repatriation. As he 
told his tale to me he explained that the commissioners invariably 
carried a red and blue pencil, blue at one end, red at the other, 
and that the blue mark signified repatriation, the red mark con- 
tinued imprisonment. As he lay on his cot supposedly blind, 



PLANS FOR GERMANS IN RUSSIA 29 

but watching with the greatest anxiety the commissioner who was 
to decide his fate by a blue or red mark of the pencil in his hand, 
one can conceive his feelings. Fortunately the blue mark was 
made, which meant liberty for him in the immediate future. 

Similar instances occurred among Allied prisoners in Germany. 
I recall two men who simulated weak-mindedness or insanity and 
succeeded thereby in getting out of the country. 



CHAPTER IV 

WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 

During these busy days I had received from the War Ministry, 
my permit to visit the prison camps in Germany. It read as 
follows: 

"Mr. Conrad Hoffman, American, thirty-one years old, Secre- 
tary of the University of Kansas Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, has permission to visit all prisoner-of-war camps and hos- 
pitals for the purpose of securing information relative to the con- 
dition of the prisoners of war interned therein and of inspecting 
camp equipment and organization. 

"He is permitted to converse freely with the prisoners of war 
without attendance of witnesses (interpreters), to receive from 
them wishes for supplies, and to make note of the addresses of the 
relatives of the prisoners of war. He is also permitted to take 
photographs. 

"The local authorities are requested to give the above-named 
individual all possible protection and assistance in the accomplish- 
ment of his goal, especially in the erection of new reading halls 
(Y M C A huts) to be built at the expense of his organization. 

Requested by 

Friedrichs. 
"To be returned when no longer used." 

It will be noted that the holder was entitled to visit all prisoner- 
of-war camps and hospitals in the country; furthermore, that 
permission was granted to converse, freely and unhampered by a 
German interpreter or official, with the prisoner of war. The 
holder was permitted to take notes and, above all, to take photo- 
graphs of the prisoners and the camp equipment. On the face of 
it this permit gave unusual freedom of action in the prison camps. 
But, alas, the very liberality of the permit immediately aroused 
suspicion among the prisoners of war, who naturally assumed 
because of my liberties that I must be an agent of the Germans, 
sent in under the cloak of the Young Men's Christian Association 
to spy on the men and to report back to the Germans. It required 
considerable time and earnest effort in those early days of our 

30 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 31 

work to overcome this suspicion in several camps, where it served 
as one of the greatest obstacles in our efforts to be a real friend to 
the men. On the first few visits to such camps the men were 
discouragingly noncommittal. Thus one was under suspicion 
from two sides. The German authorities naturally suspected 
us and no doubt kept close surveillance over us during the first 
few visits to their camps. On the other hand, prisoners whom we 
wished to help regarded us as suspicious characters until we had 
won their confidence. The happy medium between was a rigidly 
straight and narrow path. Too much intimacy with the author- 
ities immediately accentuated the prisoners' suspicion, whereas 
too much intimacy with the prisoners gave offense and created 
suspicion on the part of the German officials, which was liable to 
result in curtailment of our privileges. It required unusual 
diplomacy to win and to keep the confidence of both parties, which 
was an essential prerequisite for the success of the work we hoped 
to do. 

I recall a case that will illustrate the extreme difficulties con- 
fronted in this connection. On one of my first visits to a camp 
near Berlin I arranged to give a lantern-slide lecture on conditions 
in other prison camps in Germany. Obviously my slides revealed 
the best features in the camps, the thought being that illustrations 
showing what the men in other camps were doing in the way of 
musical, theatrical, athletic, and religious activities would stimu- 
late similar activities among the men who saw the slides. The 
fact that these slides portrayed the best of the prison life at once 
caused suspicion that I was pro-German. This I learned later 
from the committee we had organized and after I had fully estab- 
lished myself with them and had won their confidence. They 
told me frankly that after the lecture in question a conference of 
the leaders had been called, to decide whether or not they would 
receive me again on a future visit. 

Ours was a most unique undertaking. While other relief agen- 
cies were working from the outside, sending in their supplies but 
having no personal representatives in the camps aside from relief 
committees made up of the prisoners of war, we endeavored to 
make the personal element the important factor. Ours was to be» 
a work within the camp, not extraneous, such as the others were 
performing. Both seemed essential. Attention should be called 



32 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

to the fact that our permissions had been granted on the agreement 
of reciprocity, that is, that we would attempt to do a similar work 
in the enemy countries on behalf of the German prisoners of war. 
No religious propaganda was tolerated, although interdenomi- 
national meetings of a Y M C A nature were permitted. Our 
service was to be for all prisoners, irrespective of nationality or 
religious creed. 

The ordinary German officers and camp guards who were unac- 
quainted with the events which had resulted in the issuance of 
the permits by the War Ministry were more than suspicious, many 
of them tolerating us merely because of superior orders. In view 
of their antagonism aroused by America's shipments of munitions, 
they looked upon us very much as an enemy and not as a neutral. 
Invariably on a first visit to a camp, when it was necessary to call 
on the officials in charge, one was confronted by the whole munition 
shipment argument. The wisest policy to pursue under such 
circumstances was to refrain from all political argument; this was 
invariably done by our men. 

The fact that I was able to tell of the work I had been permitted 
to do in England on behalf of the German prisoners proved a great 
help in allaying this suspicion. Furthermore, the fact that Dr. 
Harte had left for Russia and Siberia to render aid to the German 
prisoners proved a most important means of overcoming any 
opposition to our work on the part of local commandants. 

It may be wise at this time to explain briefly the organization 
of the German Prisoners-of-War Department, as it will enable the 
reader to appreciate better and more fully the elaborate red tape 
necessary for us to go through in order to do our work. The entire 
organization was headed up in the German War Ministry, with 
headquarters at Berlin. However, permissions issued by the War 
Ministry received no recognition unless sanctioned by the Corps 
Commanding Staff Office, so that after securing the permit from 
the War Ministry it was necessary for us to secure sanction and 
approval from the respective Army Corps Commanders, before we 
could proceed to the individual camps in any given corps. The 
camp commandants in turn refused to recognize our permit, even 
►though it came from the German War Ministry, unless they had 
previous orders from the Army Corps Commander's Office. Ger- 
many had eighteen Army Corps and in addition the Army Corps 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 33 

within the respective kingdoms of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wiirttem- 
berg. In the three latter the permit from the German War Min- 
istry was invalid, and before entry into the camps in these king- 
doms could be secured a special permit was required from the re- 
spective War Ministries of the three kingdoms. In each Army 
Corps and in each kingdom a special department known as the 
"Inspection" had charge of the prisoner-of-war work. To reca- 
pitulate briefly, the order of procedure in visiting any camp was as 
follows: permit from the German War Ministry, approval of the 
same by the Army Corps Commander, reference after such ap- 
proval to the inspector of the Army Corps, notification of the 
camp commander, and then presentation of the War Ministry's 
permit to the camp commander on the first visit. 

The first camp work undertaken was a trip through southern 
Germany with one of the American secretaries, who had arrived 
shortly before Dr. Harte's departure. On the trip we visited two 
of the hospitals for German soldiers, where maimed, wounded, and 
blind men were housed. These were in the city Halle a/ Saale. 
Large amusement halls, big caffe, and similar places had been 
converted into hospitals. It was pitiful to see so many otherwise 
able-bodied men lying in their cots helpless as babes, and heart- 
breaking to realize that all this might just as well not have been. 
The spirit of the men wherever we went was admirable. All were 
anxious to be well again, so as to be able to return to the front. 

We left for our trip of camp visitation, expecting to be handi- 
capped by severe discipline and an unfriendly attitude on the part 
of the officials because of our American citizenship, as well as to be 
greatly restricted in our inspection of the camps themselves. The 
result was that, though we went as critics to find fault, we came 
back surprised and deeply impressed by the universally generous 
and frank reception given us. At Karlsruhe we were received by 
Prince Max of Baden, who was a prince indeed, friendly, informal, 
and thoroughly patient with us. He was deeply interested in our 
work, for he was actively engaged in helping the prisoners of war 
in Germany. We were both surprised at his very liberal attitude 
towards the enemy. On the advice of Dr. Harte we asked him to 
serve as patron of our work, to which he responded most cordially. 
From Karlsruhe we went to Darmstadt, where the Grand Duke 
of Hesse received us in a delightfully informal manner. He, too, 



34 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

showed a deep interest in our work and before we left requested 
his Adjutant to take us in state in the royal auto to visit the prison 
camp near Darmstadt. He urged us as we departed to call on him 
at any time in the future if he could be of service. 

Under the guidance of the "Dienstunder Adjutant Seiner K'dnig- 
licke Hoheit des Grosherzogs von Hessen," the formidable title of 
the Duke's Adjutant, we visited the prison camp at Darmstadt. 
It was completely beyond our greatest expectations. The pris- 
oners were largely Russian and French. We first visited the 
hospital compound, where there were several hundreds of wounded 
men. This was a most completely equipped establishment. The 
barracks were situated in spacious grounds, every inch of which 
was utilized for the growing of spinach, regarded so highly by the 
Germans as a tonic and health food. In summer there had been 
flower beds as well. The hospital proper consisted of one long 
central hall-way from which wings extended at right angles, each 
accommodating some fifty men each. Each wing was light, airy, 
immaculately clean, and provided with stoves and two rows of 
substantial cots with white bed covering. The foot of each cot 
was toward the center of the room. All patients wore the special 
blue and white striped hospital suit or pajamas. Over the head 
of each cot the name and other particulars concerning the patient 
were recorded; at the foot a fever chart was posted on which record 
of the patient's temperature was kept. 

The staff doctor, a sympathetic and friendly personality, showed 
us everything, even to the special chapel which had been erected 
by the Government as a place of worship for the hospital patients. 
The operating rooms and laboratories were all in white and 
equipped with modern, up-to-date instruments for surgical opera- 
tions, bacteriological technique, and diagnostic purposes, including 
anew model X-ray apparatus. With the latter the doctor had 
taken some excellent pictures of the fractures of bones caused by 
bullet and shrapnel wounds. The kitchen in the hospital com- 
pound was equipped to cook for 1,000 patients, including special 
diet cooking for individual cases. It was in . charge of two women, 
the other help being French prisoners of war. Everything in the 
way of food and its preparation was worked out on a scientific 
caloric basis. Organization and system stared one everywhere in 
the face. 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 35 

The prison camp proper was next visited. There were large, 
commodious barracks housing 250 each. Ventilation was ade- 
quately provided for, but the Russians invariably closed, and no 
doubt would have liked to seal hermetically, every door and 
window. The resultant odor of the barracks in which the Rus- 
sians were housed can be imagined. The German officials insisted 
on fresh air and demanded daily airing of the barracks, a most 
wholesome command. The whole camp was built to accommo- 
date 10,000 prisoners and was divided into several compounds, 
each of which housed from 1,000 to 2,000 men. Except by very 
special permission, no communication was allowed between the 
compounds. v 

One compound was reserved for newcomers. Here they were 
kept in quarantine a maximum of six weeks, before being transferred 
to their permanent camp compounds. This covered the period 
of incubation of infectious diseases and thus eliminated the danger 
of transmission of diseases from the field to the men in the prison 
camps. It was a wise and necessary precaution to avoid disas- 
trous consequences. 

Reference should be made to what were known as the "EntVaus- 
unganstaUen," or delousing plants. The larger camps had two 
such delousing buildings. The press made much fun about these, 
but in reality they were one of the most important features of the 
camp. They served several purposes. First, they rid the men of 
that detestable pest, the louse, which was the bane of their exist- 
ence in trench life. Second, they eliminated the danger of infec- 
tion with typhus, which was known to be largely transmitted by 
the bite of a certain species of lice. Third, they served to keep 
the men clean, as every prisoner was expected to bathe in the 
establishment at least once a week and in some camps twice a 
week. Fourth, they safeguarded the health of the prisoner com- 
munity. 

The equipment and process of manipulation were comparatively 
simple. The prisoners first entered an anteroom where they re- 
moved all their clothing. This was suspended on a clothes- 
hanger on an overhead trolley with a tag, a duplicate of which the 
prisoner received and hung around his neck. The clothes were 
then run into a large sterilizer of one of two types. In the one 
compressed steam was used as a sterilizing agent; in the other, hot 



36 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

dry air. After the removal of his clothing, the prisoner passed 
on to the shower baths and soaping room, where he covered him- 
self thoroughly with a creosote soapy mixture. His head and 
face were shaved and all other parts of the body with hairy growths 
were rubbed with a powdered mixture which removed the hair as 
if by magic. The removal of the hair was a requisite precaution, 
as the specific louse which disseminates spotted fever lays its eggs, 
or "nests" as they are called, therein. These "nests" are so 
difficult to kill that it seemed best to remove them entirely. The 
prisoners then passed under shower baths, where there was plenty 
of warm water on tap continuously. It was hard to get the men 
to leave the baths, particularly the Russians, who stood in awe 
and wonder at this luxurious innovation in their lives. One can 
imagine the astonishment of the Russian of whom it was told that 
though sixty-eight years old he had received his first bath in the 
camp. The men then passed on to the final dressing room where 
on turning in their tags they received their clothing, which had 
been thoroughly sterilized while they were bathing. Each prisoner 
was given an additional clean set or outfit of clothing. 

Most of these plants accommodated 1,000 men a day. In the 
same building were immense clothes-boilers, washing tubs, and 
rinsing vats, with an immense drying room on the second floor. 
Here the camp washing, no small item at any time, was done. 
The larger pieces of laundry were all washed here. In addition, 
smaller tubs more like horse watering troughs were provided in 
the various compounds, where the men could wash small articles, 
such as handkerchiefs, socks, and the like. Each compound in the 
camp had its own kitchen, canteen, reading room, playground, 
and theater, here and there a workshop such as a shoe, tailor, or 
carpenter shop, and in some cases an art studio. Usually one 
barrack was reserved for church purposes for the entire camp. 

In the camp were many features characteristic of German 
thoroughness and conservation. Thus, even with the best of 
management, there was always some waste and refuse in the camp 
kitchen. This camp utilized the waste, after boiling the same to 
prevent the possibility of disease transmission, in fattening several 
litters of hogs. I was agreeably surprised at the spick-and-span 
cleanliness of the pigsties. Another interesting feature of this 
camp was the preparation of many bushels of apples for drying, 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 37 

in anticipation of the long winter months when fruit is scarce. 
The dried apples served admirably to vary the otherwise more or 
less monotonous winter diet. Attractive garden patches were in 
evidence everywhere. Some had flowers, but most of them were 
planted with vegetables, which not only gave a pleasing effect but 
also helped to furnish fresh vegetables for the prisoners. In one 
compound vines had been planted along the entire side of the 
barracks and, with a second row of sunflowers, which incident- 
ally furnished sunflower seed for the Russians who regard it as 
more or less of a delicacy, presented a really delightful aspect. 

At Darmstadt the officials, probably because of the presence of 
the Grand Duke's Adjutant, were all most cordial, friendly, and 
generous, urging us to express our desires as to what we wished to 
see or to do. To quote from one of our secretaries, as he wrote of 
his first impressions: "Indeed, the officials were definitely study- 
ing how to bring real German 'Kultur' to the war prisoners. If 
you had heard the discussion you would have thought them to be 
the fathers and uncles of the prisoners." A striking feature was 
the universal pride of the officials in their camp. They evidently 
had nothing to hide. Details of drainage and sewage disposal all 
received scientific attention. There was a certain degree of rivalry 
among the commandants of the different camps, which was greatly 
appreciated by the prisoners, for it contributed to the improvement 
of their lot. 

From Darmstadt we went to the camps at Giessen, Wetzlar, 
Limburg, and Worms, in the order named. On the whole, all the 
camps were similar to that described above, but to us each seemed 
a little better than the last we had seen. We were glad and grate- 
ful to God that Germany, all criticism and reports to the contrary, 
seemed to be showing so much consideration for her enemies whom 
she had taken prisoner. One official expressed what I believe was 
more or less the universal attitude when he said, "We do not look 
upon our prisoners as enemies." Another said, "These men are 
no longer enemies. I feel sorry for them and treat them accord- 
ingly. They have all done their duty." 

At Giessen we met what proved to be one of the most pitiful 
cases we saw in connection with our work. In one of the cots in 
the hospital lay a colored man from Senegal. His face bore the 
marks and scars of his tribal tattoo or ornament. There he lay, 



38 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

a stranger in a strange land, unable to communicate his desires, 
unable to understand a word that was said, helpless and alone in 
the midst of many. A small parcel of food which we gave him was 
received with an answering smile and an appreciative handshake, 
revealing the fact that the language of friendship spoken by the 
gift was understood and appreciated by him. Why was he there? 
Why had he left his native land? Who were these white folks? 
These questions no doubt were surging through his mind to remain 
forever unanswered. It was all incomprehensible to him. A 
few weeks later we learned that he had died, a victim of consump- 
tion. 

In the camp at Limburg we found scales on which the prisoners 
were weighed at frequent intervals — another instance of the Ger- 
man scientific instinct and mania for collection and tabulation of 
data. Here the garden arrangements were truly artistic and 
inviting. This camp with less than 10,000 resident prisoners was 
receiving 30,000 parcels from the home folks a month. All parcels 
were opened and examined at the censor's office before being 
delivered to the prisoners. This was no small task. As some 
5,000 of the prisoners in the camp were farmed out and living in 
the adjoining territory, many under ordinary circumstances would 
not have received their parcels until they returned to the camp a 
week or a month later, but consideration for them came to the 
rescue here as in many places. After examination of the parcels 
they were repacked, readdressed, and then sent from the camp to 
the surrounding communities, wherever the men were located. 
German system and thoroughness thus accomplished another 
tremendous task in connection with the prisoners of war. We 
were grateful for the thoughtful sympathy which prompted this 
system of parcel delivery, involving as it did so much extra and 
purely voluntary work. 

At this camp we also learned that the artists among the prisoners 
were permitted the freedom of the surrounding country, so as to 
discover interesting, picturesque, or historic bits of landscape 
which they were then permitted to paint. On such excursions 
they were usually accompanied by a German guard. 

In the camp at Worms we found similar consideration for the 

. prisoners. One entire barrack had been reserved for a church 

and had been equipped with an altar and all accessories necessary 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 39 

for evangelical, Greek Catholic, and Jewish worship. The altar 
cloths had been contributed by one of the commandant's assistants. 
The rear end of this barrack had been partitioned off into two 
rooms, which were fully furnished with bedroom accessories. 
These were for the use of the Russian priest and his attendant, who 
frequently came to the camp to conduct the religious services and 
who invariably remained over night. In this camp the prisoners 
were all Russians, and splendid opportunities for our work were 
presented, especially along educational lines. The officials were 
heartily in sympathy with our work and, as time revealed, sup- 
ported us most generously in our efforts to organize schools and 
handicraft departments. 

The hospital at Worms had several hundred severely wounded 
Russians. It was customary to send the patients back to the 
prison compound proper, as soon as they had recovered sufficiently. 
Many of the patients, we were told, cried when they had thus to 
leave the hospital compound — an evidence of the kind, sympa- 
thetic treatment they had received. The chief doctor in charge 
seemed to know every patient by name, which was not an easy 
task in view of the fact that they were all Russians. His was a 
gruff but kindly interest in each individual. As we passed through 
long barracks with rows of cots on which these helpless men lay 
he greeted them right and left with a friendly word. In return the 
patients, by the light in their eyes and the smile on their faces, 
tried to express their gratitude to him for the truly wonderful 
cures he had perfected. I have rarely seen a man take as much 
pride and joy in his work as this doctor did as he explained some 
of the cases to us. One must not forget that many of his patients 
arrived with worm-eaten gangrenous wounds requiring immediate 
and heroic action. The men seemed absolutely content under the 
circumstances. The barracks themselves were large, airy, light, 
and clean. Every inch of ground about them was utilized for 
growing vegetables, and over every door entering into a barrack 
was a hanging basket with blooming plants. 

In this hospital eggs were being given the wounded Russians to 
help them more quickly over the convalescent period. Milk, rice, 
and wine were other delicacies on the bill-of-fare for the nourish- 
ment of the weaker prisoners in the hospitals. The Russian 
prisoners, unaccustomed to such consideration, were hardly able 



40 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

to comprehend it. Their gratitude was childish and pathetic. 
An incident of which we learned while in this hospital will further 
illustrate the kindly, human sympathy of the doctor in charge at 
this camp. In one of the barracks we discovered two Armenians, 
one of whom was unable to speak anything but Armenian, whereas 
the other spoke Russian and knew a little German. By order of 
the doctor in charge their cots were placed next to each other, in 
order that the Armenian who was unable to speak Russian or Ger- 
man might have proper companionship. The Russian-speaking 
chap was entirely well and under ordinary circumstances would 
have been transferred to the regulation prison compound, but the 
doctor kept him in the hospital, simply to serve as companion for 
the other Armenian who was still seriously ill. 

In this same camp we discovered a young Russian who was most 
expert with wood-carving tools. In the room which had been 
given him as a workshop he was making violins and the Russian 
musical instrument, the balalaika, several fine finished specimens 
of which he had on display. On examination one was surprised 
to see that these had been made from odds and ends of wood that 
he had been able to pick up, chiefly pieces of cigar-boxes, and 
packing cases. Our secretary was able, soon after his assignment 
to this camp, to secure permission to take this Russian artisan to 
the near-by city and there to permit him to pick out such additional 
tools as he required, as well as to go to one of the large lumber 
yards where he was told he could choose the kinds of wood he 
needed for his carving and that we would pay the bills. A happier 
individual would have been hard to find than this Russian, coming 
thus into a veritable paradise of material from which he was told to 
choose freely. The inspiration and encouragement thus given him 
by a comparatively small outlay of money on our part would be 
difficult to estimate. Suffice it to say that all instruments used by 
the camp stringed orchestra were made by him and other pris- 
oners, who served in an apprentice relationship to him and whose 
interest in wood carving had been aroused. Many other instru- 
ments were made by this group and sold to prisoners in other 
camps. This is one of many illustrations of the manner in which 
our organization was able to give helpful occupation to prisoners 
of war. In a later chapter a more detailed description of the handi- 
craft department of our work will be given. 



WELL-EQUIPPED CAMPS AND HOSPITALS 41 

After this tour of inspection our first American secretary was 
assigned to the Eighteenth Army Corps, to be responsible for our 
work in the camps there. I returned to Berlin at this time and 
had opportunity on the return trip to observe the scene that took 
place at the railway stations. Apparently severe fighting had 
taken place on the west front and many wounded men were being 
sent back to hospitals in the homeland. Others were returning 
home for a coveted eight-days' furlough. As the trains pulled 
into the stations, one noted how anxiously and expectantly these 
men returning for furlough craned their necks out of the windows, 
looking for some waiting loved one. No one could help but feel 
glad as he observed the joyous welcome of those fortunate ones who 
were met by friends on their arrival. Soon after the trains were 
emptied and the platforms vacated one invariably saw a few 
waiting ones, still remaining and peering anxiously through the 
departing erowd for the expected loved one who had failed to come. 
A last searching look, then they, too — mothers, wives, or sisters, 
who had come so joyously and expectantly — slowly turned and 
left, despondent and fearful of the worst. I saw many a woman 
try to choke back the sobs and check the tears that would come, 
in spite of the desire to give a glad welcome, when she espied that 
the one approaching her was no longer the sound, robust specimen 
of manhood that had left, but was limping along on crutches, or 
with head or arm bandaged, or being wheeled in a chair, or even 
led by some companion because he was blind. There was a tragic 
stillness and hush over all, as though in reverence for the suffering 
and sacrifice thus portrayed. Such a scene was terrible to witness 
and can never be forgotten. We in America have been too remote 
to appreciate the awfulness of warfare. Such scenes as those 
described above were common, almost daily, occurrences, not only 
in Germany but in France, England, and the other European 
countries at war. 



CHAPTER V 
THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 

Upon my return to Berlin, preparations were made for visitation 
of camps in the immediate vicinity. Urged by our headquarters 
to do everything possible on behalf of the British civilian pris- 
oners, I made their camp, which was situated near Berlin, the first 
objective of my camp visits. Though much has been written 
about this camp, there are a number of unusually interesting 
features that bear reiteration. 

Ruhleben, signifying "peaceful life" or "quiet life," was the 
name of the camp in which the 5,000 or more British male civilians 
who were caught in Germany at the outbreak of the War, were 
interned, and held prisoners for the duration of the War. To many 
the camp will unquestionably ever remain a veritable nightmare. 
Few, if indeed any, will think of the camp as a place of quiet, 
restful life. 

The camp itself was one of the popular Berlin race tracks just 
outside the city limits, which had been adapted by the German 
authorities for housing the unfortunate British civilians who were 
to be interned there. It was equipped with all the accessories of 
a modern race track, such as immense grand stands, an excellent 
race course, and many brick buildings or stables containing horse 
stalls for the race horses. Accommodations for the men were 
found in the horse boxstalls, each stall serving as living quarters 
for five or six men. In the early days of internment little more 
than straw to serve as bedding had been provided, but it did not 
take long for the men to make the cold, unhealthful habitations 
more comfortable. 

Professional men, business men, and students, were all thrown 
together with laborers, jockeys, bellboys, waiters, and others. 
They were promiscuously mixed, but it was not long, before a 
sifting process or readjustment brought men of like interests 
together, so that the inmates of each box soon formed a harmonious 
and congenial group. 

42 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 43 

Aside from housing facilities, the camp had but little to merit 
its. selection as the dwelling place of several thousand men for a 
number of years. True, it presented possibilities of adaptation 
but there was little prospect that such adaptation would be made 
by the German authorities. After the first bewilderment and 
overwhelming discontent, with the accompanying feeling of injury 
which filled all men who were summarily torn from their business 
and activities in Germany and interned in the camp, had subsided 
somewhat, the men settled down to a more or less regular routine. 
Fortunately, there were several leading spirits in the camp who 
were imbued with the idea of service, and to them credit is largely 
due for the numerous activities which were at once organized. 
Several theatrical clubs, musical organizations, schools, religious 
organizations, handicraft departments, and the like, were one by 
one instituted and served as centers for congenial companionship 
and profitable occupation. The latter was especially needed, for 
the dull, deadly monotony of prison camp life accentuated by the 
unbearable consciousness of imprisonment was sufficient to drive 
men crazy, unless they had some means of occupying their bodies, 
minds, and souls. Even in spite of the extensive development of 
organizations and activities at Ruhleben, approximately one hun- 
dred men went insane or were temporarily mentally deranged. 
Owing largely to the efforts of the American Ambassador, His 
Excellency James W. Gerard, and his representatives, to whom the 
interests of the British Empire in Germany had been turned over 
for protection at the outbreak of war, the camp was greatly im- 
proved and additional equipment provided to make the place a 
more fitting abode for the men. 

At the time of my first visit most of the men had been in the 
camp nearly a year. During this period they had had oppor- 
tunity to adjust themselves to the unusual environment and to 
improve upon it. No doubt during the first days of internment 
conditions had been bad, far worse than at the time of my visit. 
The living quarters were never good. Relations between the 
prisoners and the German camp officials had been exceedingly 
strained, but fortunately they were then on a more satisfactory 
basis due to the far-sighted efforts of several of the influential men 
of the camp. In the early days of the camp it seems that the 
Germans had endeavored to superimpose German military dis- 



44 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

cipline upon the prisoners; this was vigorously resented, of course, 
and was the cause of constant friction and trouble. 

German discipline and punishments were adopted in all prisoner- 
of-war camps. Thus the whipping post, a form of penalty used in 
punishment of German soldiers, was frequently resorted to, in spite 
of the loud protest of British and French prisoners. That the 
Germans apparently thought little of it is evidenced by the fact 
that a post card, showing a Royal Navy Division man tied to the 
whipping post, was sent by the thousands to England, where, 
needless to say, it provoked consternation and vigorous protest 
from English relatives. 

In addition, the guard system had been most obtrusive and 
exasperating. Upon the suggestion of several of the leading 
prisoners, recommendations were made by the prisoners to the 
German authorities which resulted in permission being granted 
to organize self-government within the camp. This government 
was in charge of a group of men chosen as representatives from the 
various barracks of the camp and known as captains. There was 
one captain for each barrack. Over these barrack representatives 
was a president, called "Obmann," who was directly responsible to 
the German Commandant of the camp and through whom all 
appeals and petitions to the German authorities had to be made. 
Aside from some political intrigues which existed, this arrangement 
proved most satisfactory and did much to eliminate the friction 
and dissatisfaction that would otherwise have continued. 

Special barracks had been built to house the hundred or more 
colored men of the camp. The so-called pro-German element 
among the prisoners was placed in what was known as the "tea- 
house," the building which in pre-war days had served as refresh- 
ment annex for the race track. The men living here were more or 
less completely ostracized by the loyal Britishers of the camp. 

On going the rounds of the camp one was surprised to find a 
historical club, a science club, a music club, two or three theatrical 
societies, and the like. One of the main thoroughfares between 
two of the barracks was known as "Bond Street." Here were 
shops of the most varied type, where one could purchase every- 
thing from cooking utensils and toilet articles to clothing and 
books. A shoe shop and a tailor shop were also to be found. Most 
unique was the camp police force, made up of British prisoners 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 4S 

who were responsible for the maintenance of order and the pre- 
vention of thievery within the camp. 

The athletic field made available through the efforts of Ambas- 
sador Gerard had become one of the most popular features of the 
camp. At all times of the day, whenever weather permitted, it was 
crowded with men playing tennis, hockey, soccer football, or base- 
ball. There were many Canadians in the camp with whom base- 
ball was popular. Through the generosity of Spalding and Com- 
pany, we were able to furnish the men with a complete baseball 
outfit. During the winter 1916-17 the field was flooded and 
served as an excellent skating rink. It was surprising how quickly 
skates made their appearance in the camp. Those who had none 
and were unable to secure any made a slide, the longest I have 
ever seen, enjoying the fun like a lot of twelve-year old boys. 

The "Grand Stand University," so named because of its origin 
underneath the grand stand where the first classes had been held, 
had grown to large proportions, with faculty and students and 
catalogues of courses — in short, all the features of a modern 
university. As a matter of fact, during the four years of the 
existence of the camp, the school enlarged and improved its courses, 
entirely through the initiative of the interned men, so that full 
university credit was given men who took and passed examinations 
for work given in the school. Many a man while a prisoner pre- 
pared himself and passed the entrance examinations for Oxford 
University, as a result of the work of the "Grand Stand Uni- 
versity." 

The attics above the box stalls in a number of the stables were 
turned over to the educational committee who, with the help of 
friends in England and some assistance given by us, did wonders 
in equipping laboratories and schoolrooms. There were physical, 
chemical, electrical, and biological laboratories, and in all more 
or less equipment, much of which had been made painstakingly 
by the prisoners themselves. I recall a balance made out of cigar 
box wood, material from tin cans, and the like, which weighed 
accurately to within one-tenth of a gram. The entire balance 
had been made by one of the prisoners. In a similar manner 
equipment for the electrical and physical laboratories was made 
by other students. The man in charge of the biology department 
had secured the kind cooperation of one of the German professors, 



46 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

who provided him with microscopes and the necessary chemicals to 
carry on microscopic research of a biological nature. Hundreds of 
the men in the camp availed themselves of the talent represented 
in the camp. A nucleus of students from Oxford, ably assisted by 
several professors from other universities, formed the teaching 
staff and were most self-sacrificing in their efforts to give the most 
possible to all the men. I quote from one of the reports of the 
educational committee, which will best indicate how extensive 
and intensive was their work. This report was given on August 
12, 1916: 

"To facilitate the expansion of our activities permanent sub- 
committees of specialists have been formed to look after the various 
branches of our artistic work. The musical subcommittee was 
the first to be appointed, and consisted originally of Messrs. 
Henry, Hunt, and Treharne. Recently the attitude of the 
entertainments committee with regard to our lectures with dra- 
matic illustrations has involved the obtaining of a certain amount 
of simple stage material, the control of which has been placed in 
the hands of a dramatic subcommittee. In the other departments 
it has not been found necessary to appoint such subcommittees. 
This method has been productive of considerable results, espe- 
cially in the case of the popular lectures given in Grand Stand 
Hall on Monday evenings. Here a steady increase in scope and 
popularity is to be noted, especially in that form of demonstration 
lecture which endeavors to bring the audience into direct contact 
with the subject, as well as to express certain ideas about the 
subject. Unfortunately, up to the present it has been found 
impossible to obtain the apparatus necessary for giving scientific 
demonstrations. It is hoped, however, that it will be possible to 
procure apparatus for next term when several scientific demon- 
strations are contemplated. 

"During the period from November 18th to July 21st, twenty- 
seven lectures have been given out of a possible thirty-six. Of the 
lectures given nine have been illustrated, if at all, by readings and 
lantern slides only, and included such varied subjects as 'Gals- 
worthy,' 'Food and Food Products,' 'The Gyroscope,' 'Ruhleben 
Birds,' 'Optimism and Pessimism,' 'History of Theater Buildings,' 
'The Sonnet,' 'The New Poetry,' and 'Scientific Research.' The 
lectures on musical subjects have been fewer, chiefly owing to the 
limited number of musicians in the camp and the many calls that 
are made upon them for other musical work, but the standard 
obtained was very high. Mr. Hunt's capable introduction to the 
music of Grieg, Mr. Prichard's masterly exposition of a new con- 
ception of Mozart's significance as a composer, and the suggestive 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 47 

introduction to the little known piano-duo by Messrs. Cossart and 
Short may safely be reckoned amongst the most successful eve- 
nings given. In the first two instances the admirable support 
given to the lecturers by the musicians, both instrumentalists and 
vocalists, contributed largely to the success of the evening and 
merits our warmest gratitude. 

"The lectures illustrated by dramatic examples were ten in num- 
ber, three of them being repeated. Particularly noteworthy were 
Mr. Duncan Jones's brilliant experiment, Shakespeare as a Modern 
Dramatist, and Mr. Howard's lecture on Greek Tragedy, illus- 
trated by scenes from the Electra produced by Mr. Winzer. Mr. 
Steer's lecture on the modern Spanish drama, illustrated by Bena- 
ventes' 'Los Interesos Creados' in Spanish acted by members of 
the Spanish Circle, also deserves special mention, not merely on 
account of the excellence of the evening but also as exemplifying a 
type of circle work inaugurated by the French Circle which could 
be developed further with profit not only to the circle members 
but also to the camp as a whole. The other lectures of the same 
nature included studies of Maeterlinck, Strindberg, Shaw, Wilde, 
Ibsen, and Lascelles Abercrombie. 

"The position of the open popular lectures given last summer on 
the third Grand Stand has undergone a certain amount of alter- 
ation. When the Committee took up office the great difficulty 
with which it was faced was the eternal one of space. The season 
of the year made it impossible to continue to hold such lectures in 
the open air, and the acoustics of the Cinema Hall rendered it 
unsuitable until some kind of soundproof partition had been 
erected. A subscription was raised by the circle and after con- 
siderable delay, due to the impossibility of obtaining material, 
the partition was erected. A series of illustrated travel lectures 
was begun by Mr. Foster Kell, which attracted such large audiences 
that they had to be repeated and a program of separate lectures 
was drawn up. Before more than half a dozen of such lectures 
had been given the Hall was condemned as unsafe in case of fire, 
and again the space was made unavailable for both lectures and 
circles by the considerable alterations necessary to place it beyond 
the criticism of the military authorities. After the alterations had 
been completed, the majority of the larger circles returned to it, 
although some of the smaller ones preferred to retain the tempo- 
rary accommodation in the loft of Barrack 6. The return of the 
warm weather now made it possible to hold lectures out of doors 
and the Historical Circle came forward with a series of lectures on 
Germany, dealing with different aspects of German art, history, and 
literature which proved extremely successful. The music lectures 
of this series were given in the Y M C A Hall, the others on the 
third Grand Stand, part control of which had been allotted to us 



•48 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

by the Committee of Captains. It was felt that, in view of the 
number of lectures organized by both the circles and the Y M C A 
and the consequent reduction in the number of lecturers avail- 
able, further lectures were scarcely necessary, especially during the 
summer months. Arrangements are already being made, how- 
ever, for the winter session. 

"The circles also have shown no abatement in their activity. 
The older circles have continued the excellent work they were 
formed to accomplish, several widening their scope and appeal by 
the introduction of lantern lectures, dramatic readings, and per- 
formances and lectures illustrated by musical examples. The 
French, Spanish, Scotch, and Technical Circles have been the most 
prominent in this direction, and it is to be regretted that the 
French Circle has been disbanded. Naturally many circles do 
not allow of such an expansion, but in all cases the interest has 
been very keen. Several new circles have been formed, the 
Sociological and the Woolen and Worsted Circles being the most 
recent. The reports sent in at the close of the term form a telling 
record of the energy and industry of a large section of the camp. 

"The cubby-holes (rooms for private study) still retain their old 
popularity, in spite of the greater facilities now available in the 
camp. Their space is more limited however, two of the cubby- 
holes having been granted by the late Educational Committee to 
the Camp Magazine for offices. In spite of this reduction in space, 
there are forty-eight occupiers of the cubby-holes and a large 
number on a waiting list. 

"The Committee is pleased to be able to report that the new 
session will open with a membership of 215, twenty-seven members 
having been added since the last general meeting. Up to date 
approximately twenty lectures have been offered for the coming 
session, including amongst others such interesting subjects as 
'Saint Saens' by Mr. Cossart, 'Verdi' by Mr. Weber, 'Gerhardt 
Hauptmann' by Mr. Woods, 'Chamber Music' by Mr. Short, 
'Aristophanes' by Mr. Lockyer Roberts, 'Modern English Com- 
posers' by Mr. Dale, 'Rostand' by Mr. Perrot, 'Hebbel' by Mr. 
Stein, and 'Ernst Hardt' by Mr. Raspe. In conclusion the Com- 
mittee desires to thank in the name of the Union all those amongst 
the members and non-members who have contributed to the 
successes of the past season." 

The catalogue of courses issued by the schools at frequent inter- 
vals is most interesting and indicative of the extent and intensity 
of the work carried on by this most unique of schools. During the 
winter session of 1915 courses were offered in the following sub- 
jects : French, Spanish, Art, Commercial Subjects, Science and 
Mathematics, Engineering, Nautical Subjects, and Handicrafts. 




Physico-Medico Apparatus in Czersk 
(Supplied by Y M C A) 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 49 

As the school progressed additional courses were added, as is shown 
by the catalogue for the summer term 1917, as follows: English, 
German, Celtic, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Danish, 
Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Biological Subjects, Engineering, 
Nautical Subjects, Commercial Subjects, Arts, Music, Handicrafts. 

My first visit to the camp in October, 1915, had revealed the 
urgent necessity of additional and more adequate facilities to house 
the many activities that had been initiated and promoted. The 
special committee which had been organized appealed in no 
uncertain terms for provision for their needs. A library, a reading 
room, additional classrooms, adequate quarters for the church 
services, a hall for social entertainments— these were some of the 
special needs mentioned. 

After this visit immediate steps were taken to hurry the erection 
of a Y M C A hut in the camp that would adequately fill these 
needs. But when we applied to the German authorities for per- 
mission to proceed they seriously objected, stating that the camp 
did not have adequate space to permit the erection of an additional 
building; furthermore, the owners of the race-track were said to 
disapprove on the ground that the erection of a wooden barrack, 
such as we planned, would greatly increase the fire risk, resulting 
in increased fire insurance rates. It required persistent and lengthy 
discussions to overcome all objections and to secure final approval 
of plans and permission to proceed. 

It would have been an easy matter for the German authorities 
to negotiate the various business transactions for the erection of 
our proposed hut, but this they deliberately refused to do. The 
result was that we had to solicit for bids and finally engage a con- 
tractor to erect the building. One of the prisoners, an expert 
architect by trade, had drawn the plans and subsequently super- 
vised the erection of the hut, securing the services of many pris- 
oners gratuitously to aid the German laborers and carpenters pro- 
vided by the contractor. The men worked hard and diligently, 
for all were anxious to have the hut ready for dedication by 
Christmas, just four weeks distant from the time the building was 
begun. The spirit of the men was remarkable; the most cordial 
cooperation seemed to prevail between the British and German 
carpenters working on the building. They worked until two a. 
m. the night preceding the dedication in order to have all in 



50 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

readiness for the big day. The prisoner in charge of the archi- 
tectural and construction work remarked that four weeks had 
never passed so quickly since his internment as the four spent in 
supervising the building. He was anxious to know whether there 
was any prospect of our giving him permanent employment in the 
erection of similar halls in other camps. 

The dedication, which occurred early Christmas Eve, was an 
auspicious occasion. The building was presented to the men of 
the camp as a Christmas gift from the American Y M C A or 
Student Friendship League. The participation of the interned 
men in the dedication services made it evident that the hall was a 
much appreciated gift and would be used to the limit. The entire 
hall was decorated most artistically with Christmas pines. Two 
immense Christmas trees, which had been donated by the com- 
mandant of the Camp, added greatly to the gala appearance of the 
whole. Seats were purposely left out of the hall in order to crowd 
as many men as possible into it. I judge that about 1,000 men 
were present within the hall, whereas outside, around each window 
and door, some twenty to thirty men crowded in order to hear all 
that went on inside. For me the entire dedication service and the 
happy gratitude of the men proved one of my biggest encourage- 
ments in connection with the prisoner-of-war work. 

On Christmas Day five different church services were held in 
the hall, and from that day on the hut became the center of many 
of the camp activities. The regular church services, the reference 
library, schoolrooms, the art-studio, the. Italian seminary and club- 
room — all were housed in the building. In addition social enter- 
tainments, Bible study classes, and physical education, were all 
conducted under its roof. Rules and regulations regarding the 
use of the building had been formulated by the building committee. 
Throughout the day the main hall was used as a study room by 
the many students in the camp school. 

The following schedule will give some conception of the' use 
made of the Y M C A hut for religious services throughout the 
week, as well as the wide variety of these services: Each Sunday 
morning from seven-thirty to nine, Holy Communion was con- 
ducted by the Church of England, and from nine-thirty to eleven 
the hut was given up to the Roman Catholic mass. On Sunday 
afternoon, though at varying hours on different Sundays in the 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 51 

month, Church of England Evening Prayer and a Deutsch Evan- 
gelisch service were held, and -a brief Roman Catholic evening 
service completed the day. Daily morning services, the one lasting 
fifteen minutes and the other a half hour, were conducted by the 
Deutsch Evangelisch church and the Church of England respec- 
tively, and the latter also had a fifteen-minute daily service of 
Evening Prayer. Bible classes met Tuesday afternoons from 
three to four and Monday evenings from seven to eight; prayer 
meetings were held late on Sunday and Thursday afternoons; on 
Tuesday and Thursday evenings there were Deutsch Evangelisch 
services and on Wednesday evening a Nonconformist one; and two 
hours every Friday evening were given up to Church of England 
choir practice. 

A special Y M C A committee was organized to assume 
responsibility for much of the religious work in the camp. In 
cooperation with various individuals in the camp interested in the 
work and with the help of the Rev. Mr. Williams, who did so much 
to minister to British prisoners of war in Germany, very effective 
work was done. During the years of imprisonment two three-day 
Y M C A conferences were held. In addition a special series of 
religious meetings was held from February 2 to 6, 1916, under the 
auspices of the Association, which proved most effective. 

When the suggestion was first made to a group of three of the 
men in the camp who I thought would be interested in such a 
series of meetings it was received with considerable skepticism. 
However, in a subsequent meeting with twelve interested men it 
was decided to undertake the campaign. They at once organized 
a workers' committee numbering fifty men. These had as their 
responsibility the personal work in the different barracks. A 
special invitation card was printed, which was distributed by the 
workers to every man in the camp. Some three weeks before the 
campaign a talk on prayer was given which resulted in a nightly 
meeting of the committee of fifty for prayer, and in my opinion this 
prayer consciousness and prayer practice were largely the secret 
of the success of the campaign. Several unusually appropriate 
posters were made by the prisoners and put up in conspicuous 
places in the camp. On every door of the camp a smaller poster 
with "YMCA Week" worked in monogram in red, white, and 
blue, was to be seen. Very little was said in the publicity rela- 



52 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

tive to the nature of the meetings, beyond the fact that the empha- 
sis was on the religious life of men. The result was that Y M C A 
Week, the name of our campaign, became the chief topic of 
conversation in the camp. Several more meetings with the com- 
mittee helped to prepare the camp for the week. 

On the first night the hall was packed to its utmost capacity 
fully thirty minutes before the meeting began. One of our secre- 
taries spoke at this meeting. It was an illustrated talk, winding 
up with a straightforward appeal for better living. The next day 
we had a committeemen's luncheon and in the evening one of the 
other secretaries spoke before another packed house. The follow- 
ing three nights meetings were again held, winding up on Sunday 
night with a genuine decision meeting. We had been somewhat 
dubious regarding the American method of calling for open decision 
in a meeting made up entirely of Britishers, but evidently this 
method was as effective among the latter as it ordinarily is in an 
American audience. Special cards were utilized for the men to 
record their decisions. On Saturday night a Morning Watch 
card was distributed and the men were urged to use it on Sunday 
morning. Sunday night our secretary made a most forceful appeal 
for a definite and immediate decision. At the signal our ushers 
distributed the decision cards with clock-like precision and one was 
reminded very much of our large university religious campaigns. 
Several hundred men rose to their feet as the secretary gave the 
invitation for public testimony. After standing, the men were 
asked to record their decisions on the cards that had been distrib- 
uted. Some of these were most significant and perhaps deserve 
mention. The following will serve the purpose: 

"That the feelings of bitterness may be obliterated that this 
war has caused on my spirit." 

"I resolve this day for the sake of my beautiful child-wife and 
two tiny baby boys to take from Christ's teachings such lessons as 
I know will lead to their happiness and my success." 

"Resolve to follow a code of honor consistent with the designa- 
tion of gentleman." 

"I will be a Christian." 

"To cut out the sin of impurity, to continue spending a certain 
time each day in devotion, to endeavor seriously to win others to 
Christ." 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 53 

Several of the decision cards were written in German, indicating 
that the men in question, although interned as British subjects, 
were none the less unable to speak or at least to write the English 
language. 

On Wednesday following the campaign we definitely organized 
the YMCA in the camp. It was an unusually good meeting. 
In a preliminary discussion a smaller group had voted that we 
charge a membership fee of fifty pfennig and a monthly fee of ten 
pfennig. These conditions of membership were clearly explained 
and in response to our appeal for men to join 157 signed up for 
membership on this basis. This was our charter membership. 
Officers were elected at once, with a Student Volunteer from Aus- 
tralia as president and a professor from Glasgow University as 
secretary. It was also decided that there should be a regular mid- 
week religious meeting on Wednesday nights in charge of the 
YMCA committee, and that on Saturday nights a Y M C A 
social should be staged, each social to be in charge of the men from 
one of the twenty-two barracks in the camp. Such were the begin- 
nings of an intensive religious life among a large group of the men 
of the camp. 

One of the events during the period of internment was the Ter- 
centenary Shakespeare Festival, which was held in April, 1916, 
under the auspices of the dramatic club. The program consisted 
of "Twelfth Night" on April 23rd, 24th, and 25th; on April 26th a 
lecture with demonstration on Shakespearean music; on April 
27th a lecture on Shakespearean England; and on April 28th, 29th, 
and 30th "Othello." All parts in these plays were taken by men, 
but it was hard to realize that one was not in some large city 
theater listening to leading Shakespearean players. The costumes, 
stage scenery, and all other appointments could hardly have been 
improved upon. 

During my visits to the camp at Ruhleben I invariably was 
invited out to lunch by some box group of men, and here had most 
delightful and helpful fellowship with the men. All of course 
realized that outside in the German cities food was not as plentiful 
as it was in the prison camp, and the result was that I was regu- 
larly presented with a box of supplies on leaving the camp each 
time I visited it. The following note, which was enclosed in one 
of the parcels, is rather significant of the kindly and thoughtful 



54 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

attitude of the men toward my own welfare. It may appear 
contrary to what one would expect, for the impression was general 
that the prisoners were more in need of food than was an individual 
like myself, as, indeed, they were in many other camps. 

"Having come to my notice that Mr. Hoffman is not so well as 
he might be (in the outer world) as regards the foods which perish, 
I should esteem it a great favor if you would kindly hand this 
small parcel of provisions over to him when next he visits this camp, 
for the sake of Him who tells us to 'Feed My flock.' 

Yours sincerely, 

A Brother in Christ." 

That my visits at these little luncheons were much appreciated 
is evident from the following note from the leader of one of the 
groups with whom I had taken many a meal, but with whom I had 
been unable to lunch on the last two or three visits because of other 
invitations: 

"Dear Mr. Hoffman: 

"We all hope that you will not long delay your return for we 
should feel our unworthiness too bitterly if you did not consent to 
be one of our mess. If you stay in camp, tea will be served at 
six o'clock." 

Another letter read as follows: 

"It occurs to me that the intervals in our personal correspond- 
ence are large. I should like to speak of this because we are on the 
threshold of a fourth winter here and, sunk as I am in the lives and 
souls of these young fellows here, I wish to anticipate the occur- 
rence to you of any thought that absence has made my, or any of 
the hearts here, grow less sensitive or warm, or that this is what 
it means when I am not writing. Dear Con, look back over your 
visits here and ask yourself where it was that you and I came into 
touch with one another. On the surface of details of the work, or 
somewhere else in the soul of the work? 

"Three years' confinement here, and I know you will look at 
this period a second time before reading on, with the noises of the 
world reverberating in the most quiet places of our souls, makes 
me retire with deep delight to the friendships where the mind and 
pen and voice are still. If you cannot be here personally I value 
your friendship most for its silence. 

"Dear Con, read deeply into this. The winter's arrangements 
are almost completed, our problem is ever clear, our strength 
greater, our men resolute and splendid, our progress slow but 
marked and assured, our future hopeful." 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 55 

The following copy of the announcement of the Ruhleben 
Historical Club, issued December, 1915, is significant of the scope 
of this work: 

"Since the formation of the circle the following papers have been 
read: 'The Part Which History May Play in Education'; 'The 
Personality of Salome in History and Art'; 'A Franconian Manor 
in the Eighteenth Century'; 'A Survey of Modern Jewry'; 'The 
Elizabethan Era'; 'Ludwig II von Bayern.' 

"The following papers, among others, are in preparation: 'An- 
cient Irish Literature and the History of British Origins'; 'The 
Philosophy of History' ; 'The History of the Inns of Court' ; 'Greek 
and Byzantine Ideals' ; 'Napoleon's Personality in the Light of His 
Career'; 'Economic Conditions in Europe after the Napoleonic 
Wars'; 'Voltaire as an Historian'; 'Some Aspects of Early Celtic 
Life in Ireland and Wales'; 'Glimpses of Private Life at the Turn 
of the Sixteenth Century, as revealed in some contemporary 



Wonderful things were done during the days of imprisonment. 
One of the men, who by the way had been director in the organiza- 
tion of the Museum of Boston, established a course in Italian which 
he was fully qualified to handle. It was not long before several 
classes were organized for men whose interest in the language had 
been thoroughly aroused. Very soon a weekly Italian newspaper 
was published in the camp, the articles in which were written by 
the men, who had thus learned the language in the few months of 
their class work. 

Garden contests were an annual feature of the camp life. Easter, 
1917, a horticultural show was held where flowering bulbs, foliage 
plants, and the like were on display, which had been laboriously 
and patiently nursed and mothered into bloom during the preceding 
months. 

A model boat exhibit attracted considerable attention. Silver- 
smith work and leather work also had their place. Through the 
kindness of H. R. H. the Crown Princess of Sweden we had suc- 
ceeded in getting leather for this work. Mahogany, pear wood for 
boat building, and all possible types of veneer wood, were furnished. 
Later a supply of alcohol for laboratory and goldsmith work was 
secured for the departments from Denmark. 

After extensive negotiations the Royal Library of Berlin agreed 
to loan through us books requested by the Ruhleben men who 



56 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

were anxious to do advance research reading. Twice a month 
books were thus exchanged, and many were the students who 
availed themselves of the privilege. 

One of the most notable events in the history of the Camp Ruh- 
leben was the visit of the Right Reverend Herbert Bury, Anglican 
Bishop for North and Central Europe, in the month of November, 
1916. Upon express invitation of the German military authorities, 
Bishop Bury came to Germany from England to spend a week in 
the camp at Ruhleben, completely free to move about and mingle 
with the men interned there. This was no doubt done by the 
German authorities in an effort to prove that the conditions in the 
camp were not as bad as they were commonly reported in the 
foreign press. The following was Bishop Bury's introductory 
address in the Ruhleben internment camp November 22, 1916: 

"I want to tell you, my brothers, how I welcome the opportunity 
of just, as it were, introducing myself. I cannot welcome you now 
exactly into my jurisdiction, but perhaps in after years I may do 
that. I cannot tell you what are my feelings in being here today. 
You know that my duty during peace-time is to go about the 
countries in Northern and Central Europe, visiting the little com- 
munities there, giving services, holding little receptions. In these 
countries the Bishop's visit is always a sign of touch with the old 
country, and a slight remembrance that the people are not for- 
gotten by the old country and by the old church, and that is what 
I want my visit here to be during the few days allowed me here 
with you. I want to remind you that you are in touch with the 
old country, and not forgotten for one day, that you are in touch 
with the old church and your churches at home. I am tremen- 
dously indebted to the Camp Captain, Mr. Powell, for his welcome 
to me, and, no doubt, he and I will be able to arrange for various 
other meetings, smaller than this one, where I can get some idea 
of the life of the camp, and where I can try, my brothers, to be of 
some use to you. 

"When with our brothers in the Naval Division in Holland, I 
realized what internment means — I realized the opportunities it 
brings as well as the trials. They are bitter and severe, these 
trials, but they are tremendous opportunities, opportunities which 
rightly used, should, especially for my younger friends, go to the 
making of character in after years. 

"I want to tell you how kind and helpful everybody has been. 
I would like to tell you how I came to be here at all. It is not in 
consequence of my application, but entirely as an invitation from 
those I have known in Germany, especially the Ober-Burgermeister 



THE BRITISHERS AT RUHLEBEN 57 

of Munich, who is coming from Munich to meet me tomorrow. 
He has made inquiries from time to time about the way we treat 
our interned and prisoners, and he has been the means of removing 
many false impressions and of contradicting false reports. He 
made an application for me last August, and got, not permission, 
but an invitation for me to come and visit you in Ruhleben, and 
to spend a little time with you to see as much of you as I can; to 
see everything that there is to be seen, keeping nothing back. 
I cannot tell you what courteous attention has been paid to me. 
I can never feel grateful enough for the way the authorities of this 
country, in cooperation with those of our own, have smoothed the 
way for my coming to address you here today. 

"I dare say many of you have heard of me in connection with 
your families at home, and I hope these men will make a point of 
communicating with me, as I shall be assailed with inquiries when 
I get back, and I should like to take down their messages to carry 
back with me. I have messages from people at Rock Ferry and 
Poulton-le-Fylde; I have forgotten the names, but would ask all 
those from these parts of the country to communicate with me 
afterwards. 

"I wish to hold a service on Sunday, and to have an opportunity 
of a straight talk with you now and then, to give you information 
as is right and proper, or do anything in my power to draw together 
and strengthen the ties between you and those dear to you in the 
old country. 

"Three days after I received the invitation to come and see you, 
it happened that the King and Queen invited me to Windsor to 
spend the week-end and preach to them on Sunday. " The invita- 
tion had come on the Wednesday or Thursday, and I was able to 
tell King George on the Saturday evening that I had an invitation 
to come to Ruhleben. I could not realize my good fortune. I 
feared some difficulty might still crop up, and I would not allow 
myself to be too hopeful. 

"The King said: 'Do you think you will get there?' 

"I hoped for the best, and here you see the hope fulfilled. 

"Then the King said : 'Well ! Tell the men I think of them every 
day. I send them my very best wishes; and ask them to keep up 
their standard, and not to let it down; to keep up their country's 
good name. I know they will do both. May God bless you.' 
The Queen said the same. 

"The King added: 'When you arrive back, come down to me 
and let me know how the men are looking, how they are bearing 
their great trial, and any message they may send to me.' 

"The Queen said: 'Also tell me afterwards how you found them 
looking,' and she spoke of you as she would of sons of her own. 



68 in the prison camps of Germany 

"These are their messages, with good wishes, and a hearty 
'God bless you.' 

"Now, my brothers, I join in that, and if I can be of any use, 
the more use I can be the better. If I can see men in private and 
help them, and see you in any little gatherings I shall be glad of 
the opportunity. I can assure you that there is not a more thank- 
ful man in the whole of Europe than I am today, to be able to 
be with you in this place of which we have heard so much." 

The last address which the Bishop gave at Ruhleben was followed 
by a demonstration probably unique in a camp of prisoners of war. 
The national anthem and various other patriotic songs were sung, 
and hearty cheers were given for the King and Queen as well as for 
the Bishop. After the singing of "For he's a jolly good fellow" 
the Bishop responded, "And so are all of you!" and continued, 
"Now, three cheers, and hearty ones, for Ruhleben and what it is 
to mean to your later lives ! God bless you all !" 

Many of the men in Ruhleben had their families in Germany, 
but since their internment in 1914 had not been permitted to see 
them. It was not until late in 1916 that permission was finally 
granted the wives and near relatives of the prisoners to visit them 
once a month at the camp in a special barrack set aside for that 
purpose. These visits, however, were always in the presence of a 
German attendant which made impossible the much desired pri- 
vacy. One of the prettiest and most delightful, yet pathetic, 
scenes of war prison life was that witnessed at Ruhleben on those 
days when the mothers and children or other near relatives of the 
interned Britishers were thus permitted to visit them for a brief 
fifteen minutes once a month. Within the camp all was excite- 
ment. Each of the prisoners who was expecting a visit was put- 
ting on his best, shaving and cleaning up in general. Outside as 
one approached or left the camp one would pass the wife and 
children of these men hurrying along in their best, the wife usually 
with one or more parcels for the loved one and the little children 
invariably carrying a bouquet of flowers. What an invaluable 
fifteen minutes those were for these individuals thus torn apart 
by the War! Needless to say, no relative ever missed the oppor- 
tunity for such a visit, in spite of its brevity, often spending hours 
in the trip to the camp. For the men thus visited nothing meant 
more or proved more wholesome than these precious fifteen minutes 
with their loved ones. 



CHAPTER VI 
CHRISTMAS IN A PRISON HOSPITAL 

The Christmas entertainment which gave me the greatest joy 
was the one I was permitted to arrange in one of the prison hos- 
pitals of a camp near Berlin. Permission had been secured from 
the doctor in charge for a Christmas celebration for his patients. 
The commandant of the prison camp proper, situated a mile or 
more away, had allowed us to take the musicians, the men's chorus, 
and the theatrical entertainers from the prison camp to the hos- 
pital for this Christmas celebration. We had given the Y M C A 
committee in the camp 200 marks with which to purchase apples, 
cake, and the like for the invalided men. Three members of 
this Y M C A committee, which consisted of four British, two 
Russian, and two French prisoners, received permission to go to 
the near-by town to make all necessary purchases in preparation 
for the entertainment in the hospital. Needless to say this privi- 
lege was greatly appreciated by the men. 

I spent the afternoon of Christmas Day before the hospital 
program in the prison camp proper, where we had succeeded in 
finishing our reading-room, known as the Y M C A Hall, just in 
time for Christmas. One's heart was made glad as one entered it. 
The members of the Y M C A committee had done wonders 
with the little we had been able to give them. Signs were every- 
where in evidence, wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" in the 
respective languages of the prisoners. Tables had been provided 
around which men were gathered playing the games that had been 
supplied, while others stood watching the progress of the game. 
Others were industriously reading; still others were writing, no 
doubt with keen heart-yearnings for the loved ones at home; and 
about the stove I found a group of twelve men all reading their 
Bibles, three of them Gaelic, with their Gaelic Bibles. They 
expressed the wish that we might provide another room where 
similar groups could gather for silent devotions and for Bible study, 
a thing impossible with the present facilities. It may be of inter- 



60 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

est to remark here that many an officer and prisoner later told us 
that the best thing we had done for them was to provide the quiet 
room which we arranged for in each building, where men could go 
and be alone. We must remember that in prison camp life privacy 
was well-nigh impossible. Day in and day out without interrup- 
tion, the prisoners were most intimately associated with others, 
and men, no matter where, must have occasion to be alone. 

The Y M C A committee was present in force, doing all that it 
could to make the men feel at home and to cheer them up. On 
the wall near the entrance door were posted the rules and regu- 
lations drawn up by the committee for the use of the hall. One 
was glad to note that they had prohibited card-playing, which was 
one of the evils of the prison camps, for cards were used extensively 
in gambling. The rules in question were printed in French, in 
Russian, and in English. In another part of the room signs with 
the wonderful Christmas message, "Peace on earth, good will 
towards men," were posted and one could not help but wonder 
whether such a thing were really possible. It was a busy scene 
and on the whole a happy one. The men were most appreciative 
and grateful for the little we had been able to do for them. As one 
saw these men, prisoners of war in a strange and enemy land, 
trying to forget their environment on this Christmas Day, one 
could not but think of the homes from which they had come and 
the anxiety of the loved ones there concerning their welfare. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon I was invited to have tea 
with a small group of the workers. What an elaborate tea it was — 
English white bread and butter, pound cake, plum pudding, tea 
biscuits, and real English tea. We discussed the possible date of 
the War's end, all certain that we would be home before the next 
Christmas. Pictures of the loved ones at home were shown, and a 
word of family history related. 

We then made ready to leave for the hospital, where the Christ- 
mas entertainment was to be held at five P. M. The physician in 
charge had kindly given us an entire barrack for use on the occasion. 
This the committee had decorated most effectively. There were 
three Christmas trees with real candles and other Christmas tree 
trimmings. Behind these a temporary stage had been erected. 
Four large tables with white linen covers, no doubt bed sheets 
from the hospital laundry, occupied one end of the barracks. At 



CHRISTMAS IN A PRISON HOSPITAL 61 

each place on these were an orange, an apple, six cigarettes, a cake 
of chocolate, and two pieces of German Christmas cake. The 
other end of the barrack was provided with benches for the patients 
who were soon to be brought to the festival. It was a most pitiful 
sight as these men came in, some hobbling on crutches, others 
carried by two of the less ill patients, others having arms or head or 
leg bandaged; a few were carried in on their cots, but all had an 
eager look of expectation of a good time to come in their eyes. It 
did one's heart good especially to see the joy in the faces of the 
Russian patients, for whom such a celebration was a veritable 
miracle. Signs were hung across the front of the stage wishing a 
"Merry Christmas" in French, Russian, Belgian, Polish, German, 
and English. It was a truly international entertainment. 

After all who could joined in singing "Hark, the Herald Angels 
Sing," accompanied by the orchestra, brief talks of appreciation 
were given by representatives of the different nationalities. Each 
speaker as he concluded his talk voiced the hope that the next 
Christmas they would celebrate at home, not one of them realizing 
or believing that that next Christmas and two others would still 
find them in the prison camps before they finally reached home. 
I doubt whether any individual could have endured such a thought 
at the time. After the talks an elaborate program with orchestral 
music, vocal and instrumental solos, and vaudeville followed. 
The participants represented all nationalities of the prisoners in 
the camp. Then came an intermission during which a big bowl of 
hot cocoa was served to each patient as he helped himself to his 
allotment at the table. 

The English non-commissioned officer, president of our camp 
Y M C A committee, and myself went to visit the nine lonely 
patients in the hospital who were too sick to be moved. We did 
what we could to wish them a merry Christmas as we gave them 
our little gifts, but tears were in our eyes and a big lump in our 
throats as we mentally pictured the thoughts that must be passing 
through the minds of these poor, sick, lonely men. When we came 
out into the dark night the British officer and I simply gripped 
hands and uttered an audible prayer that God might end it all 
soon. 

We then went back to the barracks and there listened to the 
remainder of the program, which was concluded by a Christmas 



62 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

carol sung by an unusually good chorus of eight British prisoners. 
I had been privileged to make a brief talk, calling attention to the 
significance of Christmas, above all trying to arouse new hope. 
The assistant of the German physician in charge was also requested 
to speak. His was a kindly message, in which he wished the men a 
right merry Christmas and expressed the hope that they might 
spend the next Christmas in their respective homes. Our enter- 
tainers then took leave, followed by three German Landsturm men 
as guards, and wended their way back to their prison camp, no 
doubt happy that they had been able to render this most useful 
service to their wounded and sick comrades. I bade farewell to 
the patients whom we helped back to their respective cots; all 
seemed happy in the atmosphere of Christmas cheer. On passing 
through the gate leaving the hospital compound I was challenged 
by the German guard to show my certificate of identification; I 
stopped to speak with him and to wish him a Merry Christmas. 
With tears in his eyes he told me that he had a wife and children 
at home, that this war was awful thus to tear men away from their 
homes on the one day when all men long to be there. To him war 
was hell. Here he was on Christmas Eve with gun in hand 
guarding f ellowmen torn from their loved ones and now his pris- 
oners, and in his ears the angelic message at Christ's birth of "Peace 
on earth, good will towards men" was ringing with bitter irony 
and ribald mockery. And there were hundreds of thousands of 
men like these prisoners and the guard on both sides of the line, 
all torn away from homes where mothers, wives, and children were 
spending a lonely, anxious Christmas day. 

It was thus I spent my Christmas; it was nearly midnight before 
I reached home, but I was grateful for the privilege that had been 
mine of bringing Christmas cheer and hope to the men with whom 
I had spent the day. 

We had tried to have celebrations of this character in other 
camps during the Christmas holidays. True, up to that time 
there were but two of us in the country; two others had arrived 
a few days before Christmas, but had not had time to secure the 
permissions which would entitle them to camp visitation, for there 
was always considerable red tape necessary before such permits 
could be granted. 



CHAPTER VII 
PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 

During the spring and early summer of 1915 Dr. A. C. Harte had 
been able to inaugurate work in a number of camps, first in G6tt- 
ingen, and later in Crossen a / Oder and in the officers' camp at 
Han. Munden. The work which centered in these three huts and 
the one at Ruhleben attracted considerable attention. All proved 
so popular and seemed to fill so great a need that requests for 
similar huts in other camps were addressed to us by many camp 
commanding officers. However, inspection of many camps 
revealed that empty barracks were available which could be trans- 
formed into Y M C A huts if the camp authorities would grant 
us permission to use them, so that whenever an appeal for a hut 
was made to us, we sought to have the authorities grant us the use 
of such barracks, rather than to build new barracks for our purpose. 

The empty barracks were due to a new development in the pris- 
oner of war methods. The large inroads on the man power of 
Germany occasioned by the compulsory drafting into service of all 
able-bodied men caused a serious menace to the home industries, 
such as factories, mines, and above all agricultural pursuits. It 
is true that the German women rallied splendidly to the situation 
and one found them in practically every occupation formerly 
regarded more or less as man's sacred domain, but there were still 
great gaps. To solve the problem the German authorities resorted 
to the employment of prisoners of war in these industries. On 
the basis of international agreement, prisoners of war below the 
rank of sergeants could be employed by their captors for work 
although they were not to be employed in the munition factories 
or in any industry manufacturing supplies directly for war use. 

Thus it was that thousands of prisoners were being farmed out 
for these various industries, in order to supplement and replace 
the German man power that had gone to the front. The prisoners 
were usually sent out on large government projects, such as rail- 
way and bridge construction and reclamation of moorlands, or 

63 



64 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

were farmed out to private industrial plants; still others were sent 
into the agricultural communities as farm hands. Many other 
prisoners worked in the "Etappen-Gebiet" or war Zone. These 
we were not allowed to visit. Friedrichsfelde, Limburg, and 
Wahm served as parent camps for these men. The fact that the 
addresses of the prisoners in question were these prison camps 
whereas the men themselves were often one hundred or more , 
miles distant in northern France or Belgium, led many a relative to 
accuse the Germans of deliberately falsifying data to conceal the 
whereabouts of the prisoners. 

When working for the Government they received the German 
soldier's paltry pay of thirty-three pfennig a day, board included — 
at the peace rate of exchange about eight cents a day. In private 
employment the prisoners frequently received much more, pro- 
fessional men earning up to eight marks, or approximately two 
dollars, a day. The earnings were never paid to the prisoner 
directly, but were deposited to his credit in the camp banks. I 
had the privilege on several occasions of inspecting these banks, 
which were organized on a most efficient business basis and in some 
cases had total deposits belonging to the prisoners aggregating 
several millions of marks. A prisoner who desired funds simply 
signed a form of check, on presentation of which he received an 
amount not to exceed ten marks at any one time. The reason 
for limiting the amount of money a prisoner could have was to 
prevent encouragement to escape. A man with considerable 
money would find it easier to get away than one who was limited 
to the paltry sum of ten marks. In later years, because of the 
scarcity of German small change and currency and to put a further 
check on the possibility of escape, special prison camp money or 
coupons were issued by the respective camps. 

Most prisoners in the early days when this system of employ- 
ment was put into effect welcomed it heartily and even volunteered 
to go out and work. Every day brought the man change of envi- 
ronment and, above all, took him away from the monotonous life 
of the prison camp. He was especially fortunate if employed in 
agricultural work, for under such conditions he had more or less 
complete freedom in the community to which he was assigned. 
Usually some large inn or restaurant was requisitioned as housing 
quarters for the prisoners employed in the town or village. Here 



PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 65 

they slept and ate. It was not an unfamiliar sight in the later 
years of the War to see a little ten-year-old German lad call at the 
village inn for the prisoner who worked on the lad's home farm 
and then escort him to his working place. In such communities 
food was usually more abundant than in the prison camp; this was 
of great importance to those prisoners of war who did not receive 
food from home friends or government. 

Theoretically, students among the prisoners of war were ex- 
empted from this manual labor, if they so desired, although in 
many individual cases release from the hard work was secured 
only upon protest or intervention of the Embassy in charge of 
the interests in Germany of the prisoner's nation. In connection 
with their camp visitation our secretaries frequently discovered 
student prisoners of war doing manual labor under protest. As a 
result of the secretaries' efforts many such a student was returned 
to the prison camp, where he was then enabled to continue his 
studies. 

This practice of employing prisoners of war all over the country 
greatly increased the difficulty of our work, for instead of having 
150 centers in which to work the number was increased by several 
thousand. The so-called working commandos or detachments 
ranged in number, so far as prisoners were concerned, from a mere 
handful to as high as 2,000. At first we had no permission to visit 
working commandos, but after extensive negotiation such per- 
mission was secured. One of our secretaries had the remarkable 
privilege of visiting regularly several working detachments of 
prisoners of war on the submarine boat wharves at Hamburg. 

Obviously, this farming out of the prisoner of war also greatly 
complicated the organization and routine of prisoner-of-war camps. 
With 150 camps, from each of which fifty to seventy-five per cent 
of the men were sent out to work in groups ranging from ten to 
2000 men each, supervision and control by guards became a tre- 
mendous and difficult task. Gradually civilian guards were 
employed to replace and to release for active service many a 
German soldier who would otherwise have been tied up at home. 
Estimating the number of Germans required to guard the pris- 
oners of war as one for every ten prisoners, the supervision of 
the approximately 3,000,000 prisoners of war meant that 300,000 
German soldiers were thus kept from the front. During the last 



66 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

few months of the War the need for German man power became 
so great that the unprecedented practice of the employment of 
women in the prison camps was resorted to. Ludendorff was 
responsible for the inauguration of a compulsory civilian service 
system, whereby all civilians capable of working were drafted for 
wartime industries and the replacement of otherwise indispensable 
men, who thus became free for military service at the front. 

Time and again I saw groups of Germans just drafted into 
service and still in their civilian dress march down the streets, 
escorted by armed German guards as though they were prisoners, 
to some garrison where they were equipped with uniform and gun. 
They were a sorry sight and reminded me of "sheep being marched 
to slaughter." Often the wives accompanied the men, tearfully 
bidding farewell as they left on the troop trains. On the sides of 
these trains one found many jests of all characters written in chalk. 
Among the many vulgar, ridiculous, and ribald jests the following 
serious sentence attracted my attention: "Unser Kinder sollen es 
gut haben." (Our posterity will benefit.) 

So far the early beginnings of our work in Germany have been 
described. With the coming of more American secretaries it 
became necessary to organize our work on a more definite plan. 
On the basis of the agreement reached with the German Govern- 
ment we were permitted to employ thirteen American secretaries 
in Germany. As has been previously stated, our work was on a 
reciprocal basis and with some twenty-five secretaries allowed in 
the Allied countries our force was restricted to the same number in 
Germany and Austria combined. 

Attention has been called to the fact that there were eighteen 
Army Corps and three kingdoms in Germany, in all of which pris- 
oner-of-war camps were found. It seemed best to assign our 
secretaries to one or more of the Army Corps and to make them 
responsible for the work in the camps situated in the same. With 
a final total of approximately 3,000,000 prisoners of war, repre- 
senting twenty-nine different mationalities, and with these men 
distributed in 150 camps and several thousand working com- 
mandos, it will be readily understood that our work necessarily 
had to be of the "touch and go" type. At most we could organize 
Y M C A committees within the camp and then through occasional 
personal visits and regular correspondence render such service as 



PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 67 

the committees recommended or requested. The camps were of 
the following types: Officers' camps, where commissioned officers 
were imprisoned; camps for privates; civilian camps; reprisal 
camps; propaganda camps; working detachments; hospitals apart 
from the prison camps. 

In the early days of German prison organization it was the policy 
of the German authorities to house Russian, French, and British 
prisoners all within the same barracks, rather than to segregate 
them by nationalities. It was urged that as long as these 
nationalities were allies they had better become well acquainted 
with one another. However, this promiscuous mixing of the 
different nationalities provoked such continued friction and dis- 
satisfaction that the Germans gradually substituted the national 
principle in the distribution of prisoners. Thus it was that camps 
contained chiefly French prisoners in one case, British in another, 
and Russian in a third. In the officers' camps, none of which 
contained more than 2,000 men, officers from all nationalities 
were invariably represented, although here, too, the tendency to 
concentrate by nationalities was followed. 

A survey of the field demonstrated that the men in the privates' 
camps, in the hospitals, on working detachments, and in reprisal 
camps were most in need of the type of service which we were 
rendering. Our work was, therefore, largely restricted to these 
camps. In the officers' camp adequate talent and resourcefulness 
were available within the camps and supplies sent by the home 
folks made our assistance less imperative. True, there were 
exceptions to this and in a number of officers' camps we were able 
to do a real piece of service greatly appreciated by the men. 

Food and clothing relief was largely a matter of the Red Cross 
organizations of the respective countries. Up to this time no 
centralization of the relief agencies had been perfected by England, 
France, or Russia. British prisoners, for example, received par- 
cels directly from their relatives, from the regimental societies, or 
from the "godmothers," charitable women who made it a practice 
to send parcels to British prisoners whose names they had secured 
either through the regimental committees or directly from pris- 
oners of war. 

No one of us who worked among the prisoners of war would 
ever have begrudged them the maximum possible relief. But under 



68 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the arrangement above cited many abuses of charity resulted. It 
was no uncommon thing to find that the addresses of the "god- 
mothers" were being sold by prisoners who had them to other 
prisoners in the camp, the price depending upon the quality of the 
parcels sent by the respective "godmothers." The prisoners 
who obtained such addresses would immediately send off most 
pathetic appeals for help, appeals which the kind-hearted and 
charitable "godmothers" rarely refused. It thus happened that 
many individual prisoners were receiving as high as ten and 
twenty parcels a month from as many different "godmothers." 
Such prisoners, with a shrewd business capacity, would then 
auction the contents of these parcels to their less fortunate fellow 
prisoners. An extensive system of profiteering thus resulted, for 
the contents of the parcels were often sold at fabulous prices. 

The Russian prisoners of war most frequently fell victims to this 
system. Unfortunately they were receiving little help from their 
own Government, and the great distances and the ignorance of 
the majority of the Russian people resulted in few parcels being 
sent by their relatives to the Russian prisoners. The latter were 
accordingly more or less dependent upon German food or such 
other food as they could secure by begging or by purchase from 
their more fortunate British and French fellow-prisoners. French 
hard-tack biscuits, such as were sent by the French Government 
to French prisoners of war, were often sold to these hungry Rus- 
sians at as high as five and six marks apiece. Because of the 
abuses resulting from this promiscuous charity, the German 
authorities through the camp censors refused to forward the 
letters of prisoners of war addressed to the "godmothers," which 
was a step urgently needed to avoid further abuses, but which was 
immediately misinterpreted by those concerned. Fortunately, 
the British Government soon afterwards took steps for the central- 
ization of prisoner of war relief. In a similar manner the French 
Government arranged to send her prisoners in Germany a weekly 
ration of bread, which proved a great help to the men and did 
much to counteract the misuse of charity which prevailed under 
the old system. 

Some idea of the extent of parcel shipments from private indi- 
viduals to prisoners can be gathered from the fact that in the Camp 
Munster alone, in which some 30,000 prisoners were quartered, 



PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 69 

there arrived during the month of May, 1916, 264,000 food parcels, 
making an approximate average of nine parcels per man per month. 
One can appreciate the tremendous amount of post-office work 
which these parcels necessitated, especially when one remembers 
that fully fifty per cent of the prisoners were scattered at the time 
throughout the country on small working commandos, to which 
the parcels had to be forwarded, after censorship in the camp. 
In this camp the post-office staff consisted of 224 employes. Sim- 
ilar conditions existed in each of the other 150 camps in Ger- 
many. 

On the basis of international agreement prisoners of war were 
entitled to write two letters and four post cards a month, with no 
restriction as to the number of pieces of correspondence which they 
could receive. The censorship of these parcels and letters was no 
small item and became doubly laborious when the German Gov- 
ernment issued an order requiring that all food parcels must be 
opened before delivery to the prisoners of war. This order was 
issued because of certain discoveries of attempts to smuggle infor- 
mation in the contents of the parcels sent to the prisoners of war. 
I was shown a pound of walnuts among which one had been found 
which had been opened, a note enclosed, and then carefully re- 
sealed. Obviously no more walnuts were permitted by the Ger- 
mans to reach the prisoners of war after this discovery. Letters 
and newspapers baked into loaves of bread were not uncommon; 
in one camp I was shown a bottle of whiskey baked within a loaf 
of bread. False bottoms in canned goods and letters in tins of 
butter or lard, had been discovered at various times. Needless 
to say, the Germans instigated a most rigorous censorship there- 
after of all supplies sent in to prisoners of war. All canned goods 
were opened before issuance, very much to the discomfort of the 
prisoners. Thus the many had to suffer because of the folly of a 
few, for the letters and papers which were thus smuggled through 
were invariably of a more or less harmless nature and conveyed 
no valuable information. 

Largely through such thoughtlessness many regulations were 
inflicted which could have been avoided. In one of the prison 
camps, contrary to general orders, the camp officials had permitted 
the shipment of articles made by prisoners of war to their home 
folks; in, this camp British Tommies had learned to knit and were 



70 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

sending home sweaters, mufflers, socks, and the like which they 
had knitted. Some prisoner, however, attempted to smuggle 
a letter in one of these parcels, with the result that this privilege 
was immediately withdrawn. These incidents are cited to show 
some of the complications and difficulties in the supervision of 
prisoners of war, of which the unsophisticated are entirely un- 
aware. 

In the matter of food the following condition was witnessed on 
more than one occasion, and in other instances was related to me 
with considerable pride by the prisoners. On the basis of inter- 
national agreements Germany was required to furnish food to the 
prisoners of war, even though the men did not use it, because they 
had sufficient in the parcels sent them by the home folks. In 
many cases the British prisoners would appear for the daily issue 
of German food, which at the noonday meal consisted of a quart 
of soup and a certain quantity of rye bread of the black, sour 
variety. As a wise precaution, the British Tommies did not 
refuse the food, because they feared that shipments of food from 
the home land might cease. It was assumed that the Germans 
would discontinue the issuance of food altogether should they, 
the British prisoners, at any time refuse to accept the daily ration. 
To dispose of the bread the Britishers would walk about the camp 
at dusk, breaking up the bread into small crumbs and scattering 
it broadcast about the camp, thus depriving the Germans of that 
much food. I often wondered why the Britishers did not turn 
over this bread in such cases to their Russian comrades, many of 
whom were sadly in need of additional food. No doubt they 
feared detection. 

The German authorities were obviously anxious to convince the 
relatives of the prisoners of war that adequate food was being 
provided. This was accomplished in various ways, the most 
effective no doubt being the one adopted at the officers' camp at 
Villingen, where on all stationery used by the prisoners of war 
the complete menu for an entire week was given in detail. The 
following is a copy of such a week's menu, It should be noted 
that this was in August, 1915, when food supplies were still com- 
paratively abundant in Germany and it was possible to provide 
more adequately for the prisoners than was the case in later 
years. 



PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 



71 



Camp des Officiers Pkisootstiebs de Gtteehe de 

VlLLINGEN 

Menu du 2—8 Aout, 1915 

Tous les jours: 300 gr. de pain. Chaque matin: Cafe 8 gr., Cafe 
de Malte 5 gr., Sucre 20 gr. ♦ 



Dimanche Midi 

Potage aux tomates 

Filet de boeuf roti 200 gr. 

Haricots verts sautes 125 gr. 

Pommes frites 350 gr. 

Compote 200 gr. 

Soir 
Saucisses grilless,' sauce 

piquante 200 gr. 

Salade 200 gr. 

Pommes sautees 350 gr. 

Lundi Midi 

Potage de riz 

Pate de veau roti au jus. . . . 
Choux blancs a la Bavaroise . 
Pommes de terre en robe de 

chambre 

Fruits 

Soir 
2 oeufs durs, sauce Bechamel 

Salade 

Pommes de terre a l'etuvee . . 

Mardi Midi 

Potage aux nouilles tapioca . 

Aloyau roti. . 

Avec macaroni au gratin a 

l'etuvee 

Soir 
Goulache a la Hongroise 

Mercredi Midi 

Potage de Sagou 

Boeuf bouilli . . 

Choux blancs braises 

au jus et pommes sautees. . 
Compote 



152 gr. 
155 gr. 

350 gr. 
200 gr. 



200 gr 
350 gr 

10 gr 
200 gr 

70 gr 

162 gr. 



200 gr. 
155 gr. 
350 gr. 
200 gr. 



Sou- 
Pate de veau froid 152 gr. 

Saucisson de Lyon 125 gr. 

Salade 200 gr. 

Pommes sautees 350 gr. 



Jeudi Midi 

Potage d'orge, tapioca . 
Gigot de mouton roti . . 
Haricots verts sautes . . 

Puree de pommes 

Sou- 
Gateau de mais 

Compote de pruneaux . 

Vendredi Midi 

Potage Parmentier 

Colin court boullonne avec 

sauce moutarde 

Pommes a Soir l'etuvee .... 

Fruits 200 gr. 

Blanquette de veau 200 gr. 

Riz au gras 300 gr. 



10 gr. 
200 gr. 
125 gr. 
350 gr. 

300 gr. 
200 gr. 



350 gr. 
350 gr. 



Samedi 

Soupe — Borsch 
russe — Tapioca 



Midi 



et 



carottes nouvel- 
les 

choux blancs 
pommes de terre 
C u ^ tomates 

Boeuf avec concombres et 

radis en salade 200 gr. 

Sou- 
Ragout de mouton 200 gr. 

aux pommes de terre 350 gr. 



The following menu cards, for the prisoners' kitchen of Camp 
Minister III. September 5-11, 1915, show the food given the 
ordinary soldiers in a prison camp: 

Day Morning Noon Evening 

Sunday Cocoa 20 gr. Barley 80 gr. Potatoes . . . 600 gr. 

Plums 100 gr. Peas and 

bacon. ... 50 gr. 

Sugar 15 gr. Cheese 100 gr. 

Potatoes .... 700 gr. Soup powder 



72 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

Bay Morning Noon Evening 

Monday. . . . Coffee 4 gr. Potatoes. . . 700 gr. Soup powder 40 gr. 

Supplement. 6 gr. Mutton. .. . 120 gr. Potato flour. 10 gr. 

Sugar 30 gr. White and red 

cabbage.. 400 gr. Potatoes.... 600 gr. 

Tuesday. . . . Soup Potatoes.. . . 700 gr. Potatoes in 

Soybean flour 15 gr. Bean flour... 100 gr. jackets. . . 600 gr. 

Sugar 30 gr. Bacon 15 gr. Pickled 

herring. . . 1 st. 

Wednesday . Coffee 4 gr. Sauerkraut . 100 gr. Potato soup 

Supplement. 6 gn Soybeans. . . 100 gr. Potatoes.... 700 gr. 

Sugar ,. 30 gr. Pigs' feet.. . 190 gr. Fat 15 gr. 

Potatoes. . . 700 gr. 

Thursday. . . Soup Beet greens. 400 gr. Soup powder 40 gr. 

Tapioca Potatoes . . . 700 gr. Potato flour. 10 gr. 

flour 15 gr. Fat 15 gr. Potatoes 600 gr. 

Powdered Shell fish ... 250 gr. 

milk 20 gr. 

Sugar v 30 gr. 

Friday Coffee 4 gr. Potatoes . . . 800 gr. Peas and 

Supplement. 6 gr. Dried fish . . 150 gr. Bacon. ... 50 gr. 
Sugar 30 gr. Potatoes..'. 600 gr. 

Saturday . . . Soup powder 50 gr. Potatoes.. . . 700 gr. Soup powder 40 gr. 

Potato flour. 10 gr. Green peas.. 130 gr. Potato flour. 10 gr. 

Beef 120 gr. Potatoes. . . 600 gr 

These amounts represent the quota per prisoner. The food was 
usually prepared in the form of a soup, one quart of which was 
supposed to contain the quantity of ingredients indicated. In 
addition each prisoner received daily a quantity of black bread 
ranging from 350 grams (about eleven ounces) in the early days 
of the War down to 200 grams in the later days. 

As the War continued and the blockade about Germany in- 
creased in effectiveness, food conditions became increasingly 
serious. Towards Christmas, 1916, they had attained alarming 
proportions, and obviously those prisoners of war who were de- 
pendent upon German food because their governments or home 
folks could not or would not send food suffered terribly. The 
following incident illustrates perhaps as well as any how intense 
this suffering was. In one of the camps near Berlin the president 
of the Russian Relief Committee was a big, stalwart, kind-eyed 
Russian attorney. He was liked by all and our secretary invaria- 
bly spent considerable time with him whenever he visited the 
camp. On one of these visits he failed to find the man in his 




Types op Prisoners from India 




View in One of the Barracks at Gottingen 



PRISONERS AT WORK AND HUNGRY 73 

customary quarters. Inquiry as to his whereabouts revealed the 
fact that he was in the hospital, recovering from self-inflicted 
wounds made in an attempt to commit suicide. The secretary 
then called on him in the hospital barracks, and asked the reason 
for the attempted suicide. The Russian replied that he" had been 
unable to endure any longer the piteous appeals of his countrymen 
for food, with no means whatsoever of bringing them relief. Driven 
to desperation by the sight of their suffering, he attempted 
suicide. 

It was fortunate that the need of man power in Germany became 
so urgent, for it resulted in the sending out of most of the prisoners 
of war into the agricultural communities to work on the farms, 
and food conditions there were far superior to those which pre- 
vailed in the prison camps. Personally, I regard this feature of 
employment of the prisoners as providential in the case of the 
Russians, Serbians, and Roumanians, for had it not taken place 
and had all these men been compelled to remain in the camps 
and to subsist on the food which the German authorities were 
able to provide, death by starvation would have been appalling 
in the number of victims it would have claimed. The British 
prisoners of war, as well as the French and many of the Italians 
were much better off, for their respective governments sent in 
food in large quantities to care for them. 



CHAPTER VIII 

HELP IN BOTH WORSHIP AND STUDY 

During the early months of 1916 additional secretaries arrived 
from America, so that by Christmas of that year we had the major- 
ity of our staff active in the camps. As has been previously 
stated, these field secretaries were assigned to a number of Army 
Corps, the camps in which were their responsibility. They 
planned to visit these once or twice a month, in rare cases oftener. 
In each camp was organized, a special camp Y M C A committee 
from among the prisoners, which assumed responsibility for the 
activities which our secretaries promoted and supported. By this 
arrangement it was possible for our staff of thirteen secretaries to 
visit in the course of a month from forty to fifty different camps, 
covering approximately one third of the camps in Germany. After 
the work was once established less time was required in each 
visit; thus one of our secretaries visited twenty-five camps in 
thirty-four days. Another made 108 camp visits in four months, 
visiting eighteen different camps, some as often as twenty-seven 
times in the course of the four months. The following list of camps 
visited between July 8 and August 11, 1917, will show the remark- 
ably wide area sometimes covered by a secretary: 

July 8th — Altdamm July 26th — Skalmierschutz 

July 10th — Sagan and Sprottau July 27th — Neisse 

July 11th — Neuhammer a. Q. July 27th — Lamsdorf 

July 12th — Lauban July 28th — Gnadenfrei 

July 13th — Reisen July 30th — Schneidemuhl 

July 16th — Czersk July 31st — Arys 

July 17th — Hammerstein August 1st — Pr. Holland 

July 18th — Stargard Po. August 2nd — Mewe 

July 19th — Gustro<w August 3rd — Danzig-Troyl 

July 20th — Augustabad August 8th — Parchim 

July 21st — Stralsund-Danholm August 9th — Bad Stuer 

July 25th — Stralkowo August 11th — Fiirstenberg 

The following is the record of another secretary during the 
course of four months (September, October, November, and 

74 



HELP IN BOTH WORSHIP AND STUDY 75 

December, 1916) . The figures represent the number of, times 
the camp in question was visited during the period: 

Cottbus-Sielow 27 Muncheberg 3 

Doeberitz 13 Havelberg 3 

Dyrotz 12 Crossen 3 

Berlin Lazarette 10 Ciistrin-Ft. Zomdorf 2 

Cottbus-Merzdorf 7 Halbe 2 

Ruhleben 6 Brandenburg 2 

Frankfurt a / Oder 6 Blankenburg 2 

Guben 4 Beeskow 1 

Ciistrin-Ft. Gorgast 4 Berger Damm 1 

One secretary writes as follows of the work done on these visits: 

"The outstanding features of the past four months' work 
include: 

"1. Completion and dedication of a beautiful Y M C A church 
building at Cottbus, Sielow Camp. 

"2. Construction and opening of a small Y M C A church 
building at Doeberitz and arrangements completed for similar 
building at Dyrotz. 

"3. Privilege of giving a religious talk to Britishers once a month 
in Cottbus, Dyrotz, Doeberitz, and Ruhleben. 

"4. Collection of 840 handicraft articles for the prisoner-of-war 
bazaar in Stockholm. 

"5. Supplying musical instruments at Cottbus-Sielow, Cottbus- 
Merzdorf, Dyrotz, and Doeberitz, to be paid for by the prisoners 
of war on the instalment plan. 

"6. Furnishing handicraft tools or materials to hospitals in 
Berlin, Guben, and Crossen, and to camps in Cottbus-Sielow, 
Merzdorf, and arrest-barracks (privates), to Ciistrin-Fort Gorgast 
(Russian officers), and to Muncheberg and Havelberg (civilian 
men, women, and children). 

"7. Furnishing athletic equipment or indoor games to Blanken- 
burg (English officers), Brandenburg, Crossen, Frankfurt, Guben, 
Muncheberg, Dyrotz, Doeberitz, and Cottbus (all three camps). 

"8. Purchasing stereopticon equipment for one camp, radiop- 
ticon for another, and a second radiopticon which is being used on 
a circuit of camps for educational and religious talks. 

"9. Securing books or school supplies for Dyrotz, Cottbus 
(Sielow, Merzdorf, and arrest camps), Berlin hospital, Crossen, 
Havelberg, Halbe, and Beeskow (French officers). 

"10. Making up lists of prisoners who desired news or parcels 
from home from all the camps visited except Havelberg, Munche- 
berg, Brandenburg, and the officers' camps. 



76 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

"11. Ordering crosses, special religious books, candles, or holy 
meal for Russian Orthodox priests, Roman Catholic priests, or 
English church leaders in Cottbus, Doeberitz, Dyrotz, Branden- 
burg, Blankenburg, and Berger Damm. 

"12. Conducting a chess tournament in Cottbus-Sielow and 
planning for others in Miincheberg and Fort Gorgast." 

The concluding words of the address by the Camp Commander 
at the dedication of the Y M C A building at Cottbus-Sielow are 
significant enough to be quoted here: 

"When some day the bells ring in peace and you who are now 
prisoners are again at home with your wives and babes, and when 
your dear old mother lovingly welcomes you, then tell them of the 
hardships you endured, but do not forget this hour of dedication; 
tell your people that even in the enemy's country God's love did 
not forsake you. Then, too, we who are Germans will sheath 
our swords, in the presence of the spirit represented by the inscrip- 
tion above the entrance to this building: 'Peace on earth and good 
will toward men.' Amen." 

Through our neutral headquarters at Copenhagen we were able 
to purchase and import many supplies no longer to be had in 
Germany, in addition to special food supplies which were packed in 
individual parcels and sent to prisoners of war whom our camp 
secretaries reported as in dire need. This phase of our work, 
however, remained secondary throughout, as food and clothing 
relief was not our responsibility. There were months, however, 
when we shipped as high as 30,000 individual food parcels, certain 
in each case that the parcel would be received by a needy and 
deserving man. 

In the early days of 1916, in conjunction with the German branch 
of the Y M C A movement, the publication of Russian literature 
was begun. Our secretaries in attempting to organize schools 
were greatly handicapped by a lack of all necessary books. It 
was found in the case of the Russians that seventy-five to eighty- 
five per cent were illiterate, but no elementary books in Russian, 
such as were needed, were available. One of the secretaries who 
had lived many years in Russia and understood the Russian 
character and spirit thoroughly was immediately set to work 
editing and publishing the necessary literature. An ABC book 
was the first to be printed; it was published in an issue of several 



HELP IN BOTH. WORSHIP AND STUDY 77 

hundred thousand copies and freely circulated in the prison camps. 
Then came demands for elementary textbooks; these were edited 
and printed by our headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. Books 
on chemistry, astronomy, agriculture, and hygiene were published 
one by one in an effort to meet the growing demand. Similarly, 
a Russian prayer book was prepared, care being taken to prevent 
anything from entering into the make-up which could possibly give 
offense to the high church officials of the Greek Orthodox Church 
in Russia. Next extracts from Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," 
appropriate and likely to appeal to the mystic in the Russian char- 
acter, were translated and published in pamphlet form and widely 
distributed. Russian religious literature and Bibles and New 
Testaments secured through the Bible Society in Berlin, were 
much in demand and received wide circulation through our field 
camp secretaries. 

Through special arrangements with our headquarters in Stock- 
holm it was possible to secure a large number of the ritual books 
for Easter and similar church days used by the Russian Church. 
These were distributed to the various Russian priests in the 
different camps in the country. 

A most interesting episode in connection with the furnishing of 
church ritual material was the manner in which we secured the 
antimensia (a special form of altar cloth). These, in order to be of 
value, must be blessed by the Bishop of the Greek Catholic Church 
atfPetrograd. After such blessing it was sacrilege for any lay 
person to touch the cloths. These were not to be had in Germany 
and yet were essential for the Greek Catholic Church services for 
the Russian prisoners. How to get them into Germany from 
Russia without defilement by the German censors and customs 
officials at the frontier, who examined everything thoroughly, was 
the problem that confronted us. Finally the following plan was 
successfully carried through. The Russian Synod at Petrograd 
contributed a dozen of these cloths and after they had been blessed 
delivered them carefully wrapped and sealed to one of the Russian 
Red Cross sisters who was proceeding to Austria for a visit to the 
Russian prisoners there. Careful telegraphic report was made to 
us as to the date of her arrival at the Danish-German frontier. 
We in turn secured the services of the Greek Catholic priest at- 
tached to the Greek Embassy in Berlin, getting permission for 



78 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

him, after considerable red tape, to accompany the writer to War- 
nemiinde, the frontier station " through which the Red Cross 
sister was to come. Here we met the latter, who turned over the 
sealed package containing the altar cloths to the Greek priests in 
the presence of the German censors and customs house officials. 
These were courteous, but intent oh fulfilling their duty of 
inspecting all goods which passed into Germany from the outside. 
The priest then proceeded to break the seal, opened the parcel and 
one by one held up the individual altar cloths for the scrutinizing 
gaze of the German officials, carefully holding them at a distance 
to prevent sacrilegious defilement of the cloths by a layman. 

A demand reached us from many Russians in different camps 
for the small crosses or icons worn by all devout Greek Catholics 
about their necks. Many of the Russian prisoners, we discovered, 
had lost these in the scramble and fighting at the front and felt 
very much at a loss in their private personal devotions in which 
these crosses or icons played an important part. Through nego- 
tiations with our headquarters in Russia, some 300,000 of these 
crosses were kindly contributed by Her Imperial Majesty, Empress 
Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, as a token of her thoughtful 
remembrance of the Russian prisoners who had fought so bravely 
for her country. Sick men especially were most grateful for these 
crosses, and many a man with tears in his eyes expressed his 
thanks to us with a request that we thank Her Imperial Majesty 
for this thoughtful gift. 

The World's Committee of the Y M C A began the publishing 
of a small monthly magazine or paper known as The Messenger. 
This was printed in English, French, Russian, and Italian editions 
and freely circulated in all the prison camps of the European 
countries, where it was eagerly welcomed by the prisoners, who 
in the early days were greatly in need of reading matter. To our 
surprise we discovered that fully fifty to sixty per cent of the 
Italian prisoners were illiterate. Here again we were compelled 
to edit and publish ABC books, for distribution in those camps 
where elementary schools were being organized among the Italian 
prisoners of war. Conditions with reference to English and French 
books were far better in most camps. Large numbers of English 
books in the Tauchnitz editions were purchased in Germany and 
innumerable books were sent to our office from friends in Germany 



HELP IN BOTH WORSHIP AND STUDY 79 

and neutral countries for distribution among these prisoners. 
The Danish Red Cross and H. R. H. the Crown Princess Of Sweden 
also furnished books. Magazines were most popular, but owing 
to censor regulations these had to be old issues, nothing published 
since 1913 being permitted. Thanks to the cooperation of friends 
in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway we were able to secure large 
quantities of such magazines, but even these, in spite of the fact 
that they were issues published prior to 1913, required careful 
censorship on our part in order to eliminate any offending pictures 
or cartoons. Any objectionable cartoon, or for that matter 
article, appearing in magazines sent out by us was liable to result 
in the immediate withdrawal of the permission we had secured to 
furnish prisoners with such magazines. At the headquarters in 
Berlin a man was employed regularly for this task of censorship of 
all books sent out by our headquarters to the prisoners of war 
in Germany. 

For a number of camps such as Ruhleben, Heidelberg, and 
Villingen it was possible to make arrangements with the university 
libraries or the Royal Library at Berlin to draw books for the use 
of the many students among the prisoners who were anxious to do 
research reading. Mention has been made of the arrangement 
made with the Royal Library of Berlin for the loan of books to 
the British prisoners at Ruhleben. 

In connection with the literature distributed by our organization, 
which was largely handled by Mr. Grote, the following figures will 
be significant: 

From August 1 to October 31, 1917, there were shipped from the 
Berlin office 96,914 books and pamphlets in seventeen different 
languages. These included Tartar, Turkish, Flemish, Finnish, 
Esthonian, English, French, Russian, Roumanian, Serbian, and 
Armenian languages. Aside from these, large numbers of books 
were shipped directly from England to the English prisoners 
of war. On the whole the prisoners of war were well supplied 
with literature, although the men in the remote working com- 
mandos were not provided for so well. We attempted to 
secure literature for them by launching circulating libraries from 
the parent camps. These in many cases proved most welcome 
and effective, for the men in these working detachments were cut 
Off from all access to literature in their native tongue, and books 



80 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

sent out from the camp were everywhere welcomed with a shout 
of joy. 

Attention should be called at this point to the cooperation 
received from various university laboratories in rendering assist- 
ance to ambitious students among the prisoners of war. A 
request for a telescope came to us from a Russian officer, a professor 
of astronomy, which we referred to certain Germans interested 
in our work. The result was that we secured an excellent tele- 
scope to be used by the Russian for a number of months, much to 
his delight and surprise. In a similar way we received a number 
of microscopes, which were sent to prisoners in different camps 
for personal and general use in connection with the school work 
that they were conducting. Through the efforts of Dr. E. Rotten, 
many other intricate and valuable laboratory instruments were 
secured for the use of the British civilians in the camp at Ruhleben. 

The manner in which it was possible to receive assistance from 
the German authorities for prisoners of war is well illustrated in 
the case of the Russian officer, Lt. Dr. Beszenoff . Dr. Beszenoff 
was a specialist in bacteriology, and while a prisoner was anxious 
to do some work along his chosen line. Investigation on the part 
of our secretary in the territory resulted in securing permission 
from the heads of one of the bacteriological laboratories in Frank- 
fort for Dr. Beszenoff to work there. Our secretary then secured 
permission frqm the Army Corps, as well as from the camp author- 
ities, for the doctor to come to Frankfort and undertake the work 
which he so cherished. Through the efforts of our secretary, who 
was held more or less responsible for him, a room in a private 
family was secured and thus release from the prison camp was 
obtained for the Russian doctor. Needless to say, he was deeply 
grateful for what had been done on his behalf. Some months 
later our headquarters received from him a scientific article giving 
the results of his first research work thus performed while a pris- 
oner in Germany. Though Dr. Beszenoff understood English, 
he was not able to write it fluently and had, therefore, written 
his article in German; realizing, however, that German scientific 
literature would be unpopular, he made the request that we 
translate his article into English for possible publication in some 
English scientific journal. This was done. 

In a similar manner special privileges were secured for students 




Cemetery and Memorial Designed and Erected by 
Prisoners in Munster II. 




French Library, Camp Ohrdruf 



HELP IN BOTH WORSHIP AND STUDY 81 

in various camps, such as special study rooms for those who 
wished to do more or less advanced work. At Gottingen one of 
the university professors gave most of his time to the students 
among the prisoners in the camp, rendering accessible to them 
the books and laboratories of the University. As a result of this 
unwarranted interest, the professor suffered considerable perse- 
cution from his more nationalistic colleagues. Later this camp 
became one of the propaganda camps, in this case for Flemish 
prisoners of war, and the professor was utilized by the Government 
in furnishing German propaganda among these men. 

In this connection a word or two with reference to these propa- 
ganda camps may not be amiss. The case of Sir Roger Casement 
is no doubt well known to all, but just what happened in Germany 
in that connection is perhaps less well known. It seems that 
Casement proposed to the German Government the recruiting 
of the British prisoners of Irish nationality for theJrish revolution. 
Definite negotiations were entered into, with the result that the 
German Government agreed to concentrate all Irish prisoners in 
one camp so far as possible and agreed further, in case Sir Roger 
Casement succeeded in securing their support for his revolutionary 
plans, to equip fully such companies or regiments of Irish soldiers 
as might result. With this end in view, a questionnaire was circu- 
lated by the authorities among British prisoners of war to secure 
data regarding the number of Irish prisoners among them. All 
such prisoners were then transported and concentrated in the camp 
at Limburg and here Sir Roger Casement and other friends of the 
Irish cause were permitted to lecture and to influence the Irish 
soldiers. Their efforts, however, met with little success. Accord- 
ing to a statement made, only thirty-four of the Irish prisoners 
actually volunteered to enter a revolutionary company. 

Propaganda camps for other nationalities were established in 
different parts of Germany. Thus, the camp at Rastatt was 
unusually well equipped, in order to exert influence upon the 
Ukrainians who were concentrated there. After peace with Russia, 
special delegates from the Ukraine were permitted by Germany to 
visit this camp, and efforts in this case met with better success. 
In a later chapter mention will be made of the camp at Rastatt, for 
it was there that our American prisoners were concentrated. 
At Zossen two propaganda camps for Mohammedans were estab- 



82 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

lished. One, known as Weinberg, was reserved for Mohamme- 
dans from Russia; the other at Wunstorf was given up to Moham- 
medans from northern Africa and India. In this latter camp 
special quarters were also provided for the Sikhs, Gurkhas, Hindus, 
and similar races found among the captured. In both these camps 
diligent and subtle efforts were made by a process of compulsory 
volunteering to secure recruits for the German Army, in the hope 
of sending such Mohammedans into Palestine and Macedonia to 
incite the inhabitants to take up arms in the so-termed "Holy 
War." I had the privilege of visiting both these camps, although 
both were closed to alien civilians aside from those vitally inter- 
ested in the propaganda carried on. On the pretext that we were 
prepared to secure various food articles required by the Indians, 
such as curry powder, admission to the camp was granted, so that 
we might consult with the men about such condiments as were 
needed. It will be interesting to know that the Indian prisoners 
estimated their requirements of curry powder at seven grams per 
man per day. Through the efforts of Dr. Harte, the American 
Embassy in London, and the Indian Y M C A Movement, large 
quantities of curry powder were secured and sent to the camp for 
distribution among these representatives from far-away Eastern 
lands. 

In the camp at Wunstorf a splendid mosque, correct in every 
architectural feature, had been erected as a gift of the Kaiser to the 
Mohammedans of the camp. Every detail of equipment had 
been carefully copied, including the courtyard with its marble 
footbaths, the colored lights of the mosque, prayer rugs, and all. 
The photographs represent how successful the Germans were in 
their propaganda. I was told that some 15,000 Mohammedans 
from these camps were thus recruited, disciplined, goosenstepped, 
equipped with German uniforms, and sent to Macedonia and 
Palestine to supplement the German and Turkish armies there. 

When I visited the camp for Russian Mohammedans I saw 
several companies of these men who had volunteered, return to 
the camp in full dress parade order. At the head were the German 
officers on horseback, followed by a band, and after them row on 
row of well-disciplined Russians now transformed into efficient 
German troops. This parade entered the camp at the noon 
hour and passed up and down along the compounds, behind whose. 



HELP IN BOTH WORSHIP AND STUDY 83 

barbed wire barricades former comrades gazed at the splendor of 
those who had deserted them. The kitchen and mess for the new 
recruits were so situated that the poor unfortunate but loyal ones 
could see the large and varied rations which were given to those 
who had volunteered for German service. It is obvious that they 
looked on with longing and desire and many yielded to the temp- 
tation, for the pull of an empty stomach is a powerful argument. 
For circulation among the prisoners in all propaganda camps 
special newspapers and literature were published. Similar propa- 
ganda camps were also established for the German Russians and 
for the white Russians, and attempts were made among the Ameri- 
can prisoners, but these fell flat and remained most ineffective. 



CHAPTER IX 
WORKING UNDER SURVEILLANCE 

On April 8, 1916, an important meeting was called by the head 
of the War Prisoners' Department of the War Ministry upon 
request of Dr. Harte. The object of the meeting was to place our 
work on a more efficient basis, which could best be achieved 
through proper organization. This was a memorable meeting in 
many respects. Those present included the following: 

His Royal Highness, Prince Max of Baden, Chairman; His 
Excellency, Count Pourtales, Vice-Chairman; Their Excellencies 
General von Pfuel and Dr. von Studt, of the Red Cross; Count 
von Spitzenberg, Privy-Counselor of H. I. M. the Empress of 
Germany; General-Major Friedrich, Lieutenant-Colonel Bauer, 
and Captain Count von Boenigk, of the Prisoners-of-War De- 
partment of the War Ministry in Berlin; Professor T. C. Hall, 
American Exchange Professor; Dr. A. C. Harte, International 
General Secretary of the War Prisoners' Aid of the Y M C A; 
Dr. Gerhard Niedermeyer, National Secretary of the German 
Student Movement; His Excellency Michaelis, Chairman of the 
German Student Movement; Mr. Conrad Hoffman, National 
Senior Secretary of the War Prisoners' Aid of the Y M C A in 
Germany; Mr. Rosenkranz and Mr. Meyer, of the German 
National Committee of the Y M C A. 

The following neutral Ambassadors in Berlin were chosen as 
honorary members: Their Excellencies J. W. Gerard, Polo de 
Bernabe, Count Moltke, and Count Taube, of the American, 
Spanish, Danish, and Swedish Embassies. 

The meeting was held in the German War Ministry and was 
far-reaching in its influence upon the work for prisoners of war in 
Russia and in Germany. As a result of this meeting the following 
activities of our Y M C A secretaries were recommended and per- 
mitted by the authorities who were present : 

"The work of- the secretaries shall consist in promoting .and 
developing, with utilization to the fullest extent possible of the 
prisoners themselves, the following features; 

84 



WORKING UNDER SURVEILLANCE 85 

"1. Halls or barracks for religious services, schools, etc. 
"2. Equipment for athletics, gymnastics, and playgrounds, 
using YMCA funds for this purpose. 

"3. Handicraft work of all kinds, by supplying the necessary 
tools and raw material for the same. 
"4. Libraries. 
"5. Baths and washing facilities where necessary. 

"6. Hospitals, disinfectant equipment, medical supplies, band- 
age materials, etc. 

"7. Equipment for dental work. 

"8. Distribution of food parcels; method to be determined and 
regulated by the Executive Committee. 

"9. Extension or erection of adequate canteen facilities. 

"10. Transmission of moneys, making advances of funds and 
arrangements for adequate exchange. To be under the control 
of the Executive Committee." 

These recommendations, supplemented by the permits issued 
to the secretaries by the War Ministry, served as a basis for all 
our work. As a result of this important meeting, a special execu- 
tive committee was appointed, which included the following: 
Professor T. C. Hall, Chairman; His Royal Highness Prince Max 
of Baden, Honorary Chairman; Captain Count von Boenigk; Dr. 
G. Niedermeyer, National Secretary of the German Christian 
Student Movement; Mr. Conrad Hoffman. 

A translation of the permit originally issued has already been 
given. The modified form issued subsequent to the above meeting 
and used to the end of the War follows: 

"The Swiss citizen .- is hereby 

granted permission as representative of the Young Men's Christian 
Association, to visit the prisoner-of-war camps and hospitals in the 

territory of the Army Corps. He is permitted to inspect 

the camp equipment, management, and organization, to investi- 
gate the general welfare and condition of the prisoners, to ascertain 
their wishes relative to supplies wanted, to take notes and to take 
photographs of the prisoners (in the presence of a German officer). 
Permission to confer with the prisoners alone, in the absence of a 
guard or interpreter, can be granted by the Commanding General 
of the Army Corps involved. 

"The local authorities are hereby requested to give the bearer 
every possible courtesy, protection, and cooperation. 

"This permit expires June 30, 1917; should the activity of the 



86 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

bearer not end previously, the permit is to be returned to the War 
Ministry for renewal not later than the date of expiration of 
the same. 

"Signed 

"Chief of the Prisoner-of-War Dept. 
Prussian War Ministry." 

The first permits issued by the War Ministry, as previously 
stated, entitled the holder to visit the camps and converse with 
the prisoners, unaccompanied by any German official or inter- 
preter. In the early spring of 1916 this liberty to visit the camps 
without an accompanying German official was withdrawn, because 
of various abuses of the privilege by individuals who had been 
permitted to visit the camps as representatives of neutral countries 
and relief agencies. Such, at least, was the explanation given by 
the War Ministry. It can be readily understood that our work 
was greatly handicapped when it became necessary to have such 
an officer accompany each of the secretaries whenever they visited 
prison camps. We did our utmost to secure the prolongation of 
the original permits with the coveted privilege, but in vain. No ' 
doubt there was a tendency on the part of some of the camp 
commandants to regard our workers with suspicion, especially 
when they saw the extent of the relief to body, mind, and soul 
which the work on behalf of the prisoners of war brought to the 
men. It is not improbable that these men requested the War 
Ministry to restrict our activities. The change in our permits 
accomplished this restriction to the fullest degree possible. 

It may be of interest to cite some of the difficulties our camp 
secretaries had to meet. For instance, one of our secretaries, 
while going about on the basis of the old permits in one of his 
camps, was requested by a Russian prisoner to mail a post card 
for him. Most emphatic instructions had been given to all our 
men never to bring into or take out of a camp any written or 
printed material of any description without having submitted it 
to the camp censor. The secretary thus accosted by the Russian 
should never have accepted the post card, for each camp was 
provided with a postoffice through which all mail to and from the 
prisoners passed in the regular order of things. However, he took 
the card and a little later as he passed the censor's office attempted 
to submit it to the censor for approval, but found the office locked. 



WORKING UNDER SURVEILLANCE 87 

He then placed the card in his coat pocket and in his further duties 
about the camp forgot entirely about it. When he came to the 
gate on his way out of the camp, the German guard there challenged 
him for his pass and asked whether he had any written material 
from the prisoners. Our secretary immediately thought of the 
postcard and presented it; but circumstantial evidence was 
against him. The result was that the camp commandant reported 
the incident to the Corps Commander, who in turn notified the 
War Ministry. In spite of our sincere efforts on his behalf we 
were compelled to withdraw this secretary from the field. I still 
believe that this post card incident had been planned by some 
German official in the camp opposed to our secretary, as a trap 
to secure his withdrawal. 

In most camps after a number of visits one became fairly well 
acquainted with certain individual prisoners. On coming to a 
camp one was usually greeted most heartily by such individuals. 
This was the case with one of our secretaries, who, under the new 
permits, was accompanied by a German interpreter when presented 
to a number of his old-time friends among the prisoners. As was 
customary he shook hands with each, but very much to his concern 
he felt one of the prisoners press a piece of paper into his hand 
during the hand-shaking process. It required quick decision to 
know what to do. Fortunately our secretary destroyed the note 
in question without the knowledge of the German official accom- 
panying him. 

Another difficulty which confronted us and caused us consider- 
able anxiety was the fear that those men who had been chosen by 
us to head up our Y M C A work within the camp, and who by 
virtue of such position received considerable liberty from the 
German authorities to carry out their function, would abuse the 
privileges given. Fortunately this very rarely occurred, although 
in one case the committee in charge of arrangements for an elab- 
orate two-day track meet and athletic contest, which the Y M C A 
was promoting, made an attempt to escape when on an errand in 
connection with the program. It required most profuse expla- 
nation to free us from the suspicion that was naturally awakened. 
The track meet in question was immediately called off by the 
German authorities and greatly increased supervision and cur- 
tailment of the privileges of the prisoners was enforced. 



88 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

As has been stated, the attendance of an interpreter whenever 
our secretaries visited the camps greatly handicapped their efhV 
ciency and lessened the possibilities of' service. Because of the 
shortage of men, the German staff of supervision in charge of the 
camps was working over time. Visits by our secretaries necessi- 
tated the interpreter's presence and thus interrupted his regular 
duties for several hours. As a result, our secretaries proved 
unwelcome and failed in many cases to get the cooperation neces- 
sary to accomplish their object. The greatest emphasis possible 
was placed by our secretaries upon their attempts to win the friend- 
ship of these camp interpreters, and in most cases they succeeded 
admirably. As the permission of the War Ministry entitled our 
secretaries to camp visitation without any restriction as to the 
number of visits, we invariably urged them to make as many 
visits as possible in the course of a month. The interpreter in 
most cases thus learned to know our men and, finding that they 
could be relied upon, would before many weeks had passed permit 
them to go about freely in the camp, while the interpreter hurried 
back to his more pressing duties at the censor's office. In this 
way several of our secretaries still continued to work in many 
camps unattended by any German official, although our permits 
required such attendance. 

Repeated appeals and petitions to the German War Ministry 
to give us greater freedom in this respect finally succeeded in their 
agreeing to place the burden of responsibility for such freedom 
upon the Corps Commanders, and we immediately approached 
these in the hope of securing the freedom desired. Our first success 
was with the Commander of the Fourth Army Corps, who without 
much hesitation granted our secretary permission to visit camps 
in the territory without the attendance of a guide or interpreter. 
On the basis of this precedent we succeeded in securing similar 
permission in a number of other camps and Army Corps; but 
unfortunately when we approached the commander of the Third 
Army Corps, a corps in which we had been more or less handi- 
capped from the very beginning by an insidious opposition to the 
bottom of which we could never come, he immediately protested 
and requested several of the other Army Corps commanders to 
withdraw the permission they had already granted us, which 
unfortunately they did. 



WORKING UNDER SURVEILLANCE 89 

During the year 1916 a considerable service was rendered in the 
transmission of money to prisoners of war from their relatives. 
It is true there were regularly authorized channels for such trans- 
mission, but in view of the fact that our secretaries came in per- 
sonal contact with the prisoners many relatives preferred to for- 
ward money through our agency. This was particularly true of 
German prisoners in Russia and Siberia and Russian prisoners in 
Germany, although to a very limited extent we served as a for- 
warding agency for French and British prisoners in Germany, and 
vice versa, German prisoners in France and England. Many 
Germans reported that of all the various agencies through whom 
they had sent money to their imprisoned ones, ours had been the 
only one to get the money to the prisoners. Several hundred 
thousand marks in small sums ranging from five to one hundred 
marks each were forwarded to German prisoners in Russia and 
Siberia and approximately 50,000 marks or roubles were distrib- 
uted by us among Russians in Germany on order of their relatives. 
Much labor was required to do this efficiently, especially in the case 
of the Russian prisoners of war. It was necessary to verify each 
address before forwarding the money, because of the frequent 
transfer of prisoners from one camp to another. Not infrequently 
it occurred that we received an order to pay money to a certain 
Russian prisoner of war, only to discover that there were eleven 
or more prisoners of the same name in the camp. The inadequate 
data furnished by the sender in such cases required further inquiry 
in Russia, with the result that payments were frequently delayed 
many months. 

In Berlin there were several thousand Russian citizens through- 
out the War. Many of them had been cut off at the beginning 
of the War, and others had fled into Germany before the advancing 
armies of the early days of the War and had found refuge with 
friends in Berlin. A large number of these were influential men 
and women who, during the first year and a half of the War, 
received funds via the neutral countries from their relatives in 
Russia. However, the upheaval in Russia and the occupation of 
the country by the Bolsheviki caused this support to cease, with 
the result that these people were hard put to it for finances. A 
number of the more influential of the group thereupon attempted 
to organize a special relief committee for Russian civilians in 



90 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

Germany, but immediately encountered difficulties with the Ger- 
man authorities, for no organization of enemy aliens was tolerated 
in Germany during the War, much less any assembly of them. 
They were thus helpless to render organized relief to their less 
fortunate fellow-countrymen. 

In consultation with them it was suggested that possibly, if we 
assumed responsibility for them, a subcommittee could be organ- 
ized and permitted to work under our supervision. To this the 
authorities after considerable deliberation and negotiation finally 
agreed, so that we served in the capacity of sponsor and adviser 
for the Russian Relief Committee. A remarkably fine piece of 
work was done by this group of men. It was necessary for them 
not only to provide relief for those in need, but also to collect the 
funds with which this relief was to be carried on. A working com- 
mittee of ten was chosen, the members of which canvassed the 
Russians in Berlin who possessed considerable funds and thus 
raised sufficient money to provide the needy families with a 
monthly stipend. In the period from October, 1916, to Sep- 
tember, 1917, this committee, under our sponsorship, collected and 
distributed 44,800 marks and served on an average more than 
one hundred individuals and families every month. No one not 
acquainted with the condition of some of these families can fully 
appreciate how welcome this help, although never large, proved 
to be. It saved many a family from dire want and starvation. 



CHAPTER X 
THE SECOND CHRISTMAS 

Christmas, 1916, found us with a fairly good organization and 
with a work that was proving increasingly effective in its service 
to the prisoners of war. Arrangements had been made with Her 
Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Sweden to dispose of all 
articles made by prisoners of war which we could purchase from 
them. The offer made by our staff to the prisoners to pay them 
liberally for their finished products proved encouraging to many, 
so that special handicraft departments were organized in a number 
of camps to prepare for the exhibit and sale which Her Royal 
Highness was arranging. We succeeded in buying up something 
like 10,000 articles, for which we paid the individual prisoners and 
thus gave them a little pocket money, which was always welcome. 
The articles thus bought were sent to Sweden for the sale and 
proved to be so popular that several other sales were held during 
the course of the following year, not only in Sweden but in Norway 
and Denmark as well. 

Each secretary arranged for as many Christmas celebrations as 
possible in his territory, concentrating his efforts largely on the* 
hospital camps. In Saxony each camp received a shipment of 
games, books, and the like for the Christmas celebration. From 
the Berlin office one hundred entertainment boxes so-called were 
sent out to different camps. Various committees in Sweden and 
Norway sent us several thousand gift packages, which we distrib- 
uted among invalids in hospitals in and near Berlin. With a 
gift of 3,000 marks from a German who had been many years in 
Russia, we purchased sausage from Denmark for some 6,000 
Russian prisoners of war, each man receiving not more than a 
quarter of a pound, as a Christmas gift. Insignificant as the 
amount was, one can appreciate how welcome it proved when one 
realizes that many of these Russians had had practically no 
meat for the entire year preceding. 

Especially do I recall the Christmas arranged for the 200 and 

91 



92 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

more children interned with fathers and mothers in the camp at 
Holzminden. It is remarkable how quickly children become 
acclimated to their environment, even when that is in a prison 
camp. Our Association proved a veritable Santa Claus to these 
unfortunate children. Games, simple story books, sewing mate- 
rial for the girls, and a few goodies, all helped to bring a little 
Christmas cheer to the parents and caused unlimited delight 
among these children. 

It was my rare privilege to secure permission for our four-year- 
old daughter to accompany me to one of the camps near Berlin 
during the Christmas holidays. Never have I seen anything so 
pathetic and so touching as the scene that took place when the 
little girl, very much like a fairy dropped from heaven, appeared 
in the midst of the big, stalwart, unshaven men, cut off from 
human society and family life for a year or more. How tenderly 
and timidly, lest they hurt her, they fondled her hands and her 
cheeks. She seemed a revelation to them. They had forgotten 
that there were such creatures as little children. One after an- 
other asked permission to hold her on his knee. I recall the man 
who three different times entered the room where she was, bringing 
a bit of chocolate each time as an excuse for seeing her. Another 
man humbly asked if he might kiss her on the cheek, and in the 
eyes of most men tears had gathered as they no doubt thought of 
their own little ones at home. It was a wonderful experience 
and brought home to all of us the magical power of childhood, 
even with full grown men. As never before all of us realized the 
meaning of the words, "And a little child shall lead them." They 
showered her with gifts from their stores of supplies — plum 
pudding, bonbons, chocolates, and the like. We then went into 
the Y M C A hall and the patter of her feet as she ran through the 
hall attracted others who came from the adjoining rooms to see 
this marvel, a baby in their midst. As we left the camp the 
little one asked me why the men had cried, and I told her that no 
doubt they had been thinking of their own little girls and boys 
at home; and then she asked, as perhaps only a child would do, 
whether God was sorry for these men. How glad I was to be able 
to tell her, yes, God cared for these men; that that was one of the 
reasons, if not the chief one, why I was there. 

In several of the camps our secretaries had arranged to dis- 



THE SECOND CHRISTMAS 93 

tribute at least one orange or one apple to each of the men. One 
must remember that supplies were increasingly scarce and per- 
mission to buy supplies in the German market for distribution 
among prisoners of war was always necsesary before such supplies 
could be secured. In practically all camps special concerts and 
vaudeville performances were included in the Christmas enter- 
tainment and in all camps without exception special Christmas 
religious services were held. Several secretaries gave lantern 
slide lectures on the birth of Christ; the brightly colored religious 
slides which were used were especially appreciated by the Rus- 
sians. 

Nothing seemed more desolate than these attempts at good 
cheer at Christmas time, for one was aware that the longing to be 
at home was uppermost in the heart and mind of every man. 
One could not but feel how artificial and forced all the attempts 
at cheerfulness were, and yet how much more desolate would the 
lot of these men have been had not such attempts at cheerfulness 
been bravely made. 

The following extracts from the Christmas reports of several 
of the secretaries, indicate further what was done for the prisoners 
at Christmas: 

"Quite early it became evident that the hospital at Stuttgart 
would be the best place to hold our principal Christmas celebration. 
Long preparation and hearty cooperation from the hospital au- 
thorities, as well as from the Bureau of Aid in Berne, served to 
promote an entertainment which exceeded our most sanguine 
hopes. The hospital, which is in a large building formerly used as 
a roller skating rink, contained about sixty Russians, 140 French 
and twenty English wounded or sick prisoners. Each of the three 
nationalities formed a choir, which after weeks of practice managed 
to do very well indeed with two national or folk songs. An 
orchestra of twenty-two pieces with a splendid violin soloist came 
down from Camp II in Stuttgart to render the musical program. 
One of the local pastors gave a talk on Palestine, illustrated with 
lantern slides. The titles were translated into each language 
by an interpreter. 

"All these events took place on the large stage at the far end of 
the great hall in which the 200 beds are placed. A Christmas 
tree, illuminated with colored electric lights and covered with 
shimmering decorations, stood on each side of the stage. The 
orchestra was seated in a semicircle between them. Behind was 
a large and ornamental organ, operated by electricity, which 



94 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

played between the waits in the program. After all the numbers 
on the program had been given, the great lights in the ceiling were 
turned on, and then came the event of the evening. An interna- 
tional committee of the stronger men and the adjutants carried 
around in baskets the bags which had been prepared for each of 
the prisoners. In every bag were two oranges, eight apples, four 
pieces of ginger cake, a few candies, nuts, figs, and dates, a package 
of cigarettes, and a piece of green holly. They were joyfully re- 
ceived by all the men, and the contents were attacked on the spot 
with great gusto. One Russian, who had come in only the night 
before with a bad wound, lay in his bed sucking an orange after- 
ward. I asked him how he felt. "Ne ochen horoshaw" ("Not very 
well") he said, but he smiled faintly, and since then he has always 
watched me to see if I had another bag with me. Quite a large 
number of German dignitaries and officials attended the celebra- 
tions here, and expressed themselves as pleased. An English 
captain from one of the other hospitals in the city was also allowed 
to come down for the evening." 

"What to do for Christmas was a problem. We felt that some 
really useful Christmas presents would be a decided help. The 
Christmas present does seem to be divinely qualified to bring 
about that heartiness of personal friendship, upon the establishing 
of which the ultimate effectiveness of our wQrk so largely depends. 
And yet individual gifts seemed to be out of the question. Cakes 
and biscuits could not be had, cigarettes did not appeal to us very 
much and were too expensive at any rate, and the prospect of 
securing 50,000 apples did not seem good for private individuals 
like us without official connections. Could something, however, 
be given to whole groups that would still have an individual 
appeal? Games suggested themselves at once. Here was some- 
thing that would outlast Christmas day, that would make for 
sociability, and-that would give us a chance to consider a variety 
of tastes. To test out the value of the suggestion it was brought 
before several members of the camp relief committee. Every- 
where the idea was heartily approved. 

"We accordingly set about furnishing a package of games to 
every group of twenty or more men in our field, whether in working 
party, camp barracks, or hospital. To be perfectly fair we 
included the guard rooms of all the camps in our scheme. This 
brought a total of about 210 groups of from twenty to a thousand 
men each. The packages included games like chess, dominoes, 
lotto, and Halma, puzzles, Jews' harps, accordeons, and candles 
for Christmas trees. Besides this we sent cigarettes to the German 
soldiers in charge of the working parties, and cigars to those in 
the administrative departments of the camps. In this way we 
used more than 1,700 games, 1,650 candles and holders, 165 



THE SECOND CHRISTMAS 95 

musical instruments, 4,500 cigarettes, and 1,100 cigars. We 
also sent about 200 cards and letters of greeting to those in the 
camps whom we had learned to know personally during the 
last three months." 

"The seventh of January was celebrated by the Russians and 
Serbs as Christmas Day, the camp authorities having given 
several special liberties for the day. Preparations for a consider- 
able program of events had been made months in advance, and 
every care was taken to assure a splendid entertainment for the 
men. 

"The German commandanture, at a large outlay of money, gave 
to each prisoner some small gift, such as a cigarette case, a pocket- 
book, or a comb; rack equipment was also furnished, and things 
were brought into the camp for the Christmas affairs. 

"A concert was prepared for the day, and was given five times in 
order to allow all the men to hear it. There were for the Christmas 
days over 5,000 men in the camp, although most of them would 
leave again shortly. The numbers on the concert program 
included a few selections by the Russian orchestra, several solos 
by a former opera violinist, some choruses by the Russian choir, 
and one or two Serbian melodies by a group of Serbs with musical 
ability. 

"In the late afternoon the main event of the day took place in 
the theater hall. The Russians presented to a large audience, 
among which were many high German officers, the four-act 
drama 'Die Tage Unseres Lebens,' by L. Andrejew. It was very- 
well done, so far as one who does not understand Russian can 
judge, and was tremendously applauded by the appreciative 
audience. Some thirty characters entered the action of the play, 
and the settings of the four acts involved a good deal of scene 
shifting. Three very creditable sets of scenery had been painted 
especially for the performance by one of the Russians, the one 
containing a panorama of Moscow being particularly well done. 

"The most interesting part of the day to me, and the part in 
which the Y M C A played a small role, came after the theater. 
All the needy prisoners, men who received nothing from home, 
were lined up in barrack groups before the office barracks. There 
were in all some 350 such fellows, all eagerly awaiting their turn 
at a number. We had sent down a case of oranges, a case of apples, 
several hundred lebkuchen and cigarettes, and some Christmas 
cards and crucifixes. The articles were divided up into small 
quantities, and placed in piles on a long table. Then each Russian 
drew a lot from the hat which contained paper slips corresponding 
in number to the bags of fruit or cookies. As he passed through 
the barrack room he gave up his slip and received whatever 
article he had drawn, passing quickly out after saluting and 



96 IN THE PHISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

smiling at the amateur Santa Claus. After every one had received 
his gift, the barrack captains or leaders came in to receive the 
games which we had sent down as Christmas presents to the camps. 
They were also divided up among the men in lots, and each captain 
was charged with the safe-keeping of the games by the Major, 
who also explained the character of the gift and the identity of 
the giver. As we came out of the barrack into the bright moon- 
light, all of the 300 or more men saluted us in chorus with a Rus- 
sian greeting and thanked us for the gifts in the same way. Then 
came a few words of Christmas greeting from the Major to them 
and I passed on towards the gate, their 'Das Vidanya' ringing in 
my ears. All in all, it was a day long to be remembered." 

One of our secretaries hired an auto and played the veritable 
Santa Clauds as he traveled from one working commando to another, 
giving a phonograph concert and then distributing gifts — books, 
pictures, mouth organs, cigarettes, chocolate, and small individual 
Christmas parcels. In one place the senior among the Russians 
arose, called for a collection and wanted to buy the secretary a 
Christmas gift in token of appreciation for what he had done. It 
was one of many incidents illustrative of the gratitude of the men 
for the little service we were able to render them. 

The following list of orders filled by our Berlin office shows the 
almost endless diversity of the requests received: mandolin; cod 
liver oil; clothing and underwear for 350 recently captured seamen; 
musical tutor for cornet; comic opera, marches for orchestra; 
footballs; English books and illustrated magazines; four sets each 
of draughts, chess, dominoes, and trie trac; punching bag and two 
pairs of boxing gloves; French novels; condensed milk and eggs for 
men in hospital; wheat flour, wine for Holy Communion, wax 
candles, incense, and oil; tennis balls, racquets and net; copies of 
"Jesus of Nazareth"; food parcels for officers' orderlies; German 
book on paper manufacture; 500 Russian New Testaments, 500 
crosses, and 1000 icons; ink and fixative solution for multigraph; 
paper; English prayer books, Bibles, and song books for church 
services; darning wool; leather for shoe soles; hockey game outfit; 
twelve pairs of Indian clubs; phonograph with French records; 
Russian orthodox religious books for Easter services; supply of 
beads for bead work; black and white horse-hair; leather for 
handicraft work; spectroscope; electrical installation for scientific 
laboratories; some hens for a hospital, so as to have fresh eggs for 



- -<3£ 

, is 




YMCA Chapel, Wiesa b/Annabero 




Y M C A Public Gardens Entered in Prize Contest cp the 
Ruhleben Horticultural Society, August, 1917 



THE SECOND CHRISTMAS 97 

the invalids; musical instruments for organization of a band, to 
include bass drum, kettle drums, bassoon, and clarionet, in addition 
to violins and other instruments; clock for library; sewing machine 
for handicraft department; films for cinematograph; lantern 
slides for travelogue lectures; funds for urgent dental work; 
magazine chest, castor oil, and a knee elastic; multigraph; physico- 
medico apparatus; gymnastic equipment, to include horizontal and 
parallel bars; Pierrot costumes or cloth to make the same; six wigs; 
blackboard and wood for school benches; typewriter; material for 
Christmas decorations. 



CHAPTER XI 
ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 

I'd the late fall and early winter of 1916 numerous rumors con- 
cerning peace proposals were circulated. The peace proposal of 
the Germans and the subsequent one of President Wilson are 
known to all. Furthermore, all recall the contemptuous manner 
in which intensified submarine warfare was declared by the 
Germans at a time when peace, due to the intervention of the 
United States and President Wilson, seemed most imminent. 
Those of us who were in Germany at the time realized the danger 
of the declaration of increased submarine warfare, so far as the 
possibility of America's entering the War was concerned; but few 
of us were willing to believe that war would actually result. Con- 
tinued seeing things from the German angle had distorted our 
viewpoint and was no doubt responsible for our optimism. So 
it was that the news received on a Sunday afternoon at the 
American Embassy in Berlin that America had broken diplo- 
matic relations with Germany came very much as a thunderbolt 
from a clear sky in spite of all the previous warnings we had had 
of such a possibility. Excitement ran high and speculation as to 
what would happen next was unlimited. 

The breaking of diplomatic relations naturally would have a 
marked influence upon work like ours, conducted by Americans 
and supported by an American organization. Our secretarial 
staff at the time numbered .thirteen. We were unanimous in 
desiring to remain and to carry on, but we had not reckoned 
with the desires of the German War Ministry in the matter. A 
hurried visit was immediately made to the American Embassy 
for instructions, and another to the German War Ministry, to 
learn through the War Prisoners Department the possible action 
of the War Ministry with relation to our work. There we learned 
that our continuance in service was out of the question. That 
morning, less than twenty-four hours after news of the breaking 
of diplomatic relations had reached Berlin, the War Ministry had 

98 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 99 

telegraphed all prisoner-of-war camps that the American Y M 
C A secretaries were no longer to be admitted into the camps — 
significant and decisive evidence that it was all up with our 
work. 

As Senior Secretary, I immediately wired all secretaries in the 
field to close up their work and hurry to Berlin, bringing their 
personal baggage and all records with them. Hurried confer- 
ences were held with Prince Max of Baden, the patron of our 
work, Professor Hall, and others, to decide on our plan of action. 
Several additional conferences with members of the War Ministry 
followed. Summing up all opinions and evidence gathered in 
these conferences led to the conclusion that immediate with- 
drawal of the American secretaries from the work was most 
expedient, and furthermore, that the departure of the American 
secretaries should be hurried so that they might go with the 
Ambassador's party. The members of the American Embassy 
were already making hurried preparations for departure. It was 
necessary to secure special permission, through the Embassy 
from the German Foreign Department, for our secretaries thus to 
leave with the Ambassador's party. 

After much consultation and serious deliberation, the German 
War Ministry finally consented to permit me to remain in Ger- 
many, and furthermore granted permission for our organization 
to secure and employ secretaries from neutral countries to replace 
the Americans who were to leave. This decision was reached on 
the following grounds: On the basis of reciprocity on which our 
work had been organized, we were carrying on work in Russia, 
England, and France on behalf of the German prisoners of war, 
very similar to the work we had done in Germany. Since the 
immediate and precipitate withdrawal of all Americans from the 
German field would involve complete cessation of our work there 
for the Allied prisoners, from the standpoint of reciprocity work 
on behalf of German prisoners in other countries must also cease. 
It seemed essential, furthermore, that one of the American sec- 
retaries, experienced in the work and knowing the official cir- 
cumstances, should remain at least sufficiently long for the neutral 
secretaries who were to be secured to become initiated into the 
work, and win the confidence of the authorities in charge. As I 
had been senior secretary for our work, the choice fell upon me. 



100 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

When my consent was given to remain, it was with the under- 
standing that at any time, in case conditions should warrant, 
permission would be granted me to leave the country. This 
promise could not be secured in writing, although the head of 
the War Prisoners Department of the War Ministry, General 
Friedrichs, vouched personally for my safety. 

Thanks to the kindness of the American Embassy, we were 
fortunately able to arrange for our secretaries and their families 
to leave with the Ambassador's party. One reason for the hurried 
departure was that all knew or assumed that the Ambassador's 
ship would have safe conduct across the Atlantic. Visions of the 
greatly increased ruthless submarine warfare made it seem im- 
perative that our men and their families travel with the Ambas- 
sador's party as the only safe method of getting to America. 
Any other ship would be in danger of being sunk by the sub- 
marines, to which we attributed what later proved to be an 
exaggerated effectiveness. 

Strenuous and breakneck speed on the part of our secretaries 
and their families made it possible for them to leave with the 
Ambassador's party on Saturday, February 10th. On Friday, 
February 9th, the day before their departure, our secretaries 
were called together, upon the request of His Royal Highness, 
Prince Max of Baden, for a final word of farewell from him. The 
address, which was given in English, follows herewith : 

"I have asked you to come here in order to thank you, before 
you depart, for the work you have accomplished in our camps. 
I am justified in doing this because I had taken upon myself the 
protectorate of your mission at the request of those who sent you 
here, and because I am able by personal observation and by the 
reports that I received to judge of the exceptional merits of 
your activity. 

" I can assure you that cooperation with you and your superiors 
has been one of the most gratifying experiences that I have had 
in this war, at a time when the very foundations upon which the 
life of nations and their relations to one another have hitherto 
rested are tottering and threaten to crumble completely. The 
work among prisoners of war represents in my estimation a great 
pillar around which all those thoughts and feelings that concern 
universal brotherhood can gather, a brotherhood that declines 
to see in the captured and wounded enemy anything else than a 
suffering human being. I shall never forget the discussions on 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 101 

this subject that I have had with your leaders, of whom I would 
mention first of all Messrs. Mott, Harte, and Hall, for they have 
enriched my experience and confirmed my conviction that, in 
spite of the relentless struggle that is devastating mankind, the 
power of goodness remains unconquered and is able to accomplish 
works of salvation out of the depths of despair with ever new 
strength. 

"In a most solemn hour I address you, for your departure sig- 
nifies a new and ominous phase of this world war. Your native 
land, America, has broken off diplomatic relations with the land 
to which you have come to perform a service of humanitarian 
aid. You leave Germany at the moment when a new cloud rises 
on the distant horizon. That your work here will not be wholly 
abandoned and that Mr. Hoffman intends to remain on, causes 
me to rejoice greatly, for I see in these facts the finest possible 
expression of the ideal you represent in this world, worthy of the 
great Christian organization of which you are a part. 

"You depart from Germany which, surrounded by enemies, is 
battling in the fiercest of struggles for its threatened existence. 
You have learned to know my fatherland in a time of suffering 
and trial, when all powers of the nation under greatest tension 
are striving after the same goal : to maintain national independence, 
to save all that is sacred and valuable to a German. Of those 
ideal values that Germany upholds in the world and that are 
esteemed by millions of your fellow-countrymen I will not speak 
to you now, for you have had to do war work in war times and 
this side of German life has presented itself more clearly to you. 
You have come to know a people which is bearing its sorrow and 
suffering with singular patience and self-denial, in a loyalty and 
fidelity to the fatherland that arises from conviction. You have 
been able to acquaint yourselves with those characteristics that 
impressed your great countryman, Emerson, when he visited 
Germany, and which the great Englishman, Carlyle, defended 
with convincing force against his own countrymen. 

"You have fitted yourselves into the workings of the great 
organization that Germany has created for its more than 1,500,- 
000 prisoners, an organization which, in spite of all that has been 
said by our enemies or is being said, is unquestionably the most 
wonderful and complete that the War has produced along these 
lines. You can bear witness to the fact that on the part of our 
War Ministry the will is present to make the lot of the prisoner, 
which under all circumstances is a sad one, a humane and bear- 
able lot as far as in their power lies; and that the utmost is being 
done to maintain and improve the physical and mental well-being 
of the prisoners, so far as this can be achieved in view of their 
vast numbers and great diversity of nationality and race and under 



102 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

the conditions under which Germany is at present forced to live. 
In the camps you have made the acquaintance of those who ac- 
cepted and furthered with zeal and gladness the regulations that 
brought relief and joy to the prisoners. Misunderstandings and 
difficulties, which are never lacking in human affairs, you have 
accepted and overcome with praiseworthy patience and kindli- 
ness. The commandants you have found to be aids and willing 
furtherers of your work, and this work was a noble one. You 
have brought happiness and comfort wherever you came, and 
many edifices, churches, workshops, and libraries speak of your 
untiring diligence and the liberal supply of means put at your 
disposal by your organization. 

" The words of thanks that I speak to you can be but a dim 
reflection of the joy and inward happiness with which you are 
filled; this I am able to read from the Christmas reports you have 
sent to me. Therefore I will be brief. But you can rest assured 
that this gratitude will live on in me, and that I shall always look 
back with satisfaction and not a little pride to the months in which 
I, as your protector, worked in union with you. That I, even 
without you, will pursue the aims that are yours, you will, as I 
surely may assume, never have doubted. Too highly do I esteem 
the cause of humanity, too clearly do I sense the suffering of 
imprisonment, .to cease to serve them now. A number of most 
admirable organizations and personalities of conviction, as you 
know, are engaged in the same service. 

"Remember me kindly and let us all cling to the conviction 
that, though the enmity of- our countries may depress us, we 
ourselves can never personally be enemies. I am confident that 
far from us, too, you will bear witness to the truth as you have 
found it amongst us. You who represent the America of humani- 
tarianism, brotherly love, and active philanthropy will bear 
witness to that Germany which you have learned to know and 
which our enemies do not want to know, that Germany which, 
though itself visited by sorrow and suffering, performs without 
hate humane acts, and respects and values body and soul of its 
prisoners because it finds in them suffering mortals crying out for 
sympathy and rescue. 

"And now farewell. May you continue to bear with you to 
that place where the blessing of new duties will be your reward, 
the joy of those who are permitted to bring joy." 

The German Government had provided a special train for the 
party, which was to be escorted to the Swiss frontier. With a 
special permit from the Foreign Office I was admitted to the 
railroad platform and thus was able to see our secretaries off, 
together with my wife and little girl. The train was provided 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 103 

with sleeping and dining-car facilities and several German offi- 
cials as escorts. The treatment accorded to the departing ones 
was most courteous throughout, including the censorship of the 
baggage of all members of the party not attached to the official 
diplomatic servioe of our Government. The baggage examina- 
tion was unorganized and on the whole most superficial. The 
farewell at the station was quiet, impressive, and most serious. 
At the time few if any supposed war would follow. For me it 
was a most painful separation. Knowing the fate of British men 
and their families caught in Germany at the beginning of the 
War, we concluded it was best for Mrs. Hoffman and the baby 
to leave, especially as food conditions were seriously affecting 
the health of both. I was to remain until the work was fully 
reorganized and then to follow in three or four months. As has 
been said, General Friedrichs, head of the German War Depart- 
ment, had assured me of every possible protection and the right 
of departure at any time I desired. None the less, the future was 
dark and unoertain. 

From what has been said of our being allowed to remain in 
Germany to continue our service to the Allied prisoners of war, 
it is apparent that, at this most critical time in the history of our 
work in Germany, its reciprocal nature stood us in good stead. 
It was the threatened suspension of the work for German pris- 
oners which enabled us to persuade the officials to permit the 
continuance of our work and its reorganization in the light of 
the new conditions. The final agreement also permitted our 
camp correspondence with the prisoners of war to continue as 
heretofore. Naturally, all such correspondence received the 
closest of scrutiny from the camp censors and other censor au- 
thorities. 

The privilege of camp visitation unfortunately was to be 
denied me as an American, now an enemy alien. The concession 
granted in the privilege to substitute neutral secretaries for the 
American secretaries was largely our salvation. At first our 
choice was to be limited to men of Danish citizenship, but the 
difficulty in securing adequate numbers of the right kind of men 
from Denmark, which we explained, finally enabled us to secure 
permission to choose our new secretaries from Switzerland, Sweden, 
Denmark, and Norway. 



104 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

Henceforth, our entire work was placed under even stricter 
supervision than before. On these terms it became necessary to 
reconstruct our entire work, which suffered seriously because 
of the difficulties in getting neutral secretaries who were qualified 
and, above all, acceptable to the German authorities. The latter 
had become most severe in the requirements they demanded of 
our prospective secretaries. Four weeks and more invariably 
passed before permission was granted to men whom we proposed 
as secretaries even to enter Germany; and after their arrival 
additional weeks passed before the necessary permits were issued 
by the War Ministry entitling these men to camp visitation and 
activities on behalf of the prisoners. 

The growing food scarcity increased the difficulties, for now 
that I could no longer visit the prison camps, where I invariably 
had received a "hand-out" to supplement the food issued us on 
cards, I was dependent entirely upon the food issued on cards, 
which at this time was not over-abundant in Berlin. Thanks to 
two of our secretaries, who remained a month or two to assist in 
closing up the affairs of the different secretaries and in adjusting 
our work to the new conditions, I was not left entirely alone. 

For several weeks all went well. Then new orders were issued 
which greatly hampered me. From the ranks of neutral aliens I 
was transferred to those of enemy aliens, and police regulations 
pertaining to the latter class were most rigid. The first order 
received was to the effect that I was to report at the police pre- 
cinct twice a day. I was supposed to be in my room from eight 
at night until seven in the morning, and was not allowed to leave 
the city limits of Berlin. An appeal to the War Ministry for a 
more liberal interpretation of these regulations, especially in 
view of the fact that I was well known to the War Ministry and 
had proven myself dependable, resulted in the granting of my 
petition. Thereafter it was necessary for me to report but once 
a week to the police precinct and no restrictions as to the time 
when I was to be in my room were imposed. In addition, by a 
most tedious process of red tape I was granted permission to leave 
Berlin on fulfilling a special set of orders. These included a 
written request to the War Ministry for permission to leave 
Berlin, indicating my destination. Thereupon, after approval of 
the War Ministry, I had to report to the Berlin commandanture, 




The British Social Club, Kembahn 




French Theater, Konigsbruck 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 105 

the military police department of the city, where written per- 
mission was usually given on presentation of the approved re- 
quest of the War Ministry; but before leaving the city it was 
further necessary to submit all papers to the local police precinct 
in which I lived and not until they had given proper certification 
could I leave the city. 

On April 4, 1917, the anticipated declaration of war against 
Germany by America came. The army and navy authorities 
had prepared the public through the press for such a turn of 
events for a few weeks before the actual declaration. Constant 
statistical speculation had been appearing in the newspapers as 
to the possible resources, number of men, ships, and arms which 
would accrue to the Entente in the event of America's entry into 
the War. The papers frankly acknowledged that the resources 
would be large and a most important factor, but went on to ex- 
plain that shipment across the Atlantic was becoming increasingly 
difficult in view of the growing effectiveness of the submarine 
blockade. It was estimated that at the prevailing rate of ship 
destruction by the submarines as compared with the rate of ship 
construction, England would be starved within six months. The 
papers spoke of America's threats as being largely bluff and 
went on to explain that it would take eighteen months at least 
before America could mobilize an army sufficiently large to 
change the balance of power, which at that time was in Germany's 
favor; furthermore, that, even with a large enough army, the 
greatest difficulties would be encountered when the attempt was 
made to transport it over the Atlantic to France, to say nothing 
of the insurmountable obstacles in the way of maintaining such a 
vast army so remote from its source of supplies. Careful data 
were given regarding the tonnage required for the shipment of 
adequate supplies for an American army in France, numbering 
one to three million men, and the arms and munitions essential 
to the equipment of such an army in order to make it an effective 
fighting factor at the front. 

These were most elaborately discussed and the conclusion 
reached, in the papers at least, was that America had entered 
the War too late to have any effect on the result, which was soon 
to follow in the complete defeat of England, France, and Italy. 
That was in the spring of 1917 and most Germans at that time 



106 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

still believed what was told them by the authorities. This ex- 
plains the fact that even with the entry of America into the War 
there was little depression caused externally, for everyone seemed 
confident of victory. 

None the less, while superficially the entry of America into the 
War seemed to cause little concern, there were many who from 
that time on began to doubt the righteousness of Germany's 
cause. This doubt continued to grow and was one of the factors 
resulting in the ultimate breakdown of the morale of the German 
people behind the lines. I heard any number of individuals dis- 
cuss America's entry into the War as an evidence that something 
must be wrong with Germany's policies, for it did not seem to 
them possible for the entire world to go against Germany if her 
cause had been truly righteous and one entirely of self-preserva- 
tion against England, France, and Russia, as had been invariably 
and consistently proclaimed. 

After our entry into the War military and police regulations 
became increasingly stringent. That my correspondence was 
subjected to the closest of scrutiny was evident from the long de- 
lays before it was forwarded. On six different occasions I was 
visited by a secret service man from the Berlin police head- 
quarters and requested to report at the latter for investigation 
and explanation of various letters or telegrams that had been 
sent or received by us. Thus, on one occasion a telegram had 
been sent by our office in Stockholm worded something as follows: 
"Russian secretaries desire information regarding number of 
secretaries in Germany." Obviously, when this telegram got 
into the hands of the German censor he sat up and took notice. 
In these personal examinations at the police headquarters it was 
necessary for me to give data regarding my entire life history as 
well as that of my parents. Then I was quizzed and cross-exam- 
ined by two or three secret service men on the contents of the 
telegram or letter under investigation and the reasons therefor. 
My answers were all carefully noted in a formidable looking docu- 
ment. On conclusion of the investigation the entire document 
was reread to me and I was then required to add my signature. 
Fortunately, the papers I had from the head of the War Pris- 
oners Department of the War Ministry served to free me from 
any serious difficulties in connection with these investigations. 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 107 

When traveling it was necessary always to carry one's passport 
and other credentials, for not infrequently German secret 
service men passed through the trains and demanded such papers 
from each passenger. In the case of neutral or enemy aliens the 
scrutiny of the papers was most close. I never realized how closely 
I was being watched until the following incident occurred. In 
the course of one of my circuits to visit our different field secre- 
taries in their territory I stopped off at the Bavarian town Wiirz- 
burg, on what proved to be a Catholic Church holy day, when 
everyone was out celebrating. As customary, I made proper 
entry of my name, nationality, German address, and place from 
which I had come in the blank given me by the hotel clerk. I 
then went to the local police headquarters to report and to secure 
the certification of my passport there. The regular man in charge 
was taking advantage of the holiday and a substitute was filling 
his place. The latter stamped my passport properly and made 
his entry thereupon, but apparently neglected to make similar 
entry in the office records. I had forgotten entirely about my 
visit to Wurzburg when, three -months later in Berlin, I received 
a summons to report at the Berlin police headquarters. On ap- 
pearing before the officer in charge I was confronted by the state- 
ment that I had been guilty of a most serious offense and was 
liable to immediate imprisonment. I expressed my surprise and 
asked wherein my guilt consisted, and was then informed that on 
such and such a day I had been at Wurzburg and had neglected 
to report to the police headquarters. Fortunately, I had my 
passport with me and was able after considerable search to show 
him the entry of the police headquarters upon it. This satisfied 
the official, but I presume that the police authorities at Wurz- 
burg received proper reprimand for their carelessness. 

On another occasion, and this occurred after we had been at 
war with Germany for several months, one of our neutral secre- 
taries in an endeavor to secure a series of lantern slides for use in 
a .camp told a merchant in charge that he was a representative 
of the Young Men's Christian Association War Prisoners' Aid, 
of which I, an American, was head. In order to secure the slides 
in question free, it was necessary for our secretary to furnish a 
letter of guarantee signed by me as head of the organization. At 
the time the neutral secretary called for this letter I was away, 



108 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

and in order to save time he had the office force write the letter 
and he signed it personally, taking it back to the merchant. This 
at once aroused the suspicion of the merchant, for he could not 
understand why the head of the department had not signed the 
letter. The result was that he wrote to the War Ministry report- 
ing the "mysterious" doings of our organization, which employed 
neutral and even enemy representatives. This letter went the 
rounds of the War Ministry and finally reached the War Prison- 
ers Department, where it was subsequently shown me by one of 
the officers with whom I stood rather well. He went on to explain 
that it was a good indication of the risk that his department was 
taking in permitting me, an enemy alien, to remain, and assured 
me that had this letter gotten into the hands of some rabid Pan- 
Germanist a big investigation would have resulted, with grave 
consequences for General Friedrichs, the head of the War Prison- 
ers Department. These instances are cited to reveal more clearly 
how precarious our position was. 

Most amusing in connection with the regulation requiring all 
aliens to report at police headquarters whenever arriving in or 
leaving a town was the visit in some villages of the police officials 
on the morning of arrival. Invariably they made their appearance 
about breakfast time. During the course of conversation one was 
politely told to call at the police headquarters sometime during 
the day. Many of these individuals were the most seedy type of 
"country-jays" in the real sense of the word. Their visits made 
one feel as though they were really interested in one. 

One heard much about the campaign against the use of foreign 
words in the German language. This was particularly intense in 
the early days of the War, but the more reasonable elements soon 
cautioned the people to moderation in this connection. Thus it 
happened that none of the streets in Berlin having foreign names, 
such as Paris Place, French Street, and the like, were changed. 
Furthermore, the French high school in Berlin was continued 
throughout the War. A notice which appeared in one of the 
papers is significant in this connection. It read as follows: 

"Warning against blind fanaticism. 'It is herewith officially 
reported again that two foreigners from neutral countries were 
grievously insulted because of speaking French in one of the 
theaters. They could not understand each other in any other 



ONLY ONE AMERICAN LEFT 109 

way, for neither of them spoke the language of the other and 
neither understood German. Nothing in their conduct could 
have given the slightest cause for treating them in an unfriendly 
way. It is earnestly requested that blind fanaticism in this 
matter disappear and be done away with completely. We cannot 
expect that neutral foreigners out of respect for such over-sensi- 
tiveness should learn Swaheli.' It is really high time that an end 
should be made of giving offense to strangers who utilize the 
speech of any of the enemy countries because they cannot speak 
any other language. It is tru y unworthy of a world metropolis 
to call attention repeatedly to the lack of tact which is indicated 
in the above." 



CHAPTER XII 
THE DAY OF FOOD SUBSTITUTES 

The food situation was bad, and had become increasingly so 
during the spring months of 1917, and as the summer of 1917 ad- 
vanced, bringing with it a failure in the potato crop, he situation 
was greatly aggravated. The spring months, May, June, and 
July, before the new crops were harvested, invariably proved the 
most trying from the standpoint of food conditions for the people 
in the large cities and industrial centers. In the spring of 1917 
the bread ration was reduced to approximately three pounds of 
bread a week per person. Obviously that would be sufficient, 
provided one had other supplementary foods, but the latter were 
missing almost entirely. It is true one was supposed to receive 
five pounds of potatoes a week and a pound of meat, but one was 
not always sure of this supply in view of the difficulties of trans- 
portation and the like. In addition, practically no fruits and 
vegetables were available. Milk and butter could not be had 
aside from the minimal quantities issued on the card, and with 
only one pound of sugar a month and one egg every three weeks 
there was little available food. 

In April, 1917, a demonstration of factory laborers occurred as 
a protest against the reduced bread ration, which began April 
16th. The demonstration fell flat absolutely. The city authori- 
ties had taken precautionary measures and had doubled the 
police force. The military guard had been called out and every 
other precaution taken, but there was little necessity for such 
action. Thousands of people were in the streets, but everything 
was most peaceful. The masses seemed to lack proper leadership 
at the time to make their threats sufficiently felt in government 
circles to occasion a compromise or a granting of their demands. 

One spoke of the late summer and early winter of 1917 as the 
"turnip year," for the failure of the potato crop, the main sub- 
sistence of the German people during the last two years of the 
War, made it necessary to utilize turnips in their place. Turnip 
soup, turnip vegetables, turnip salad, turnip dessert, turnip in 

110 



THE DAY OF FOOD SUBSTITUTES 111 

the bread, turnip jam, and even turnip in coffee, comprised the 
bulk and variety of our diet during those months. It was during 
the summer of this year that the various food rations were still 
further reduced. Butter ration per person per week was down to 
two ounces; in addition, three ounces of a fish oil margarin were 
issued to each person in an effort to bring up the fat ration. Ab- 
solutely no milk for persons above four years of age unless by 
special request of an attending physician; five to eight ounces of 
meat a week, including the bone; every two weeks about three 
and one half ounces of oatmeal or cream of wheat; once a month 
a pound of coarse barley and a pound of sugar; three and one 
half to four pounds of black bread a week — these made up the 
food issued to the German people during these months. Rice, 
coffee, tea, cocoa — in fact all imported foods — were unknown at 
this time. The further details given in Mrs. Hoffman's account 
of her experiences (Appendix II) will serve to demonstrate the 
effectiveness of the British blockade of the German people. 

In the early spring of 1917 fruits such as cherries and straw- 
berries were on the market, but at high prices. The municipal 
government of Berlin, in an attempt to control prices, established 
a maximum price for these commodities. The result was that, 
within twenty-four hours after this order became known, all fruit 
disappeared from the market. The producer preferred to with- 
hold the fruit, knowing full well that the city people would sooner 
or later come out to him and, in an effort to get sufficient supplies 
of the fruits in question, would foolishly overbid one another. 
This actually happened, with the result that prices soared sky 
high. This practice, having proved so effective and profitable 
for the producer, was immediately extended by him to other 
commodities such as butter, eggs, meat, potatoes, and the like. 
The prices paid were so high that the poorer people were unable 
to compete as purchasers and for them food conditions became 
increasingly bad. 

One was forced to live the simple life: In the morning we had 
one or two slices of bread at the most and a brew called coffee, 
but which contained anything else but coffee; at noon two or 
three sandwiches; and in the evening dinner, usually made in 
the form of a vegetable stew comprised of potatoes, turnips, car- 
rots, and the like. At the time I was taking my meals in one of 



112 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the pensions so common in the large cities, but even here we were 
frequently informed by the hostess that she could not give us 
dinner that day for lack of supplies, with the result that we were 
compelled to hunt up some restaurant, most frequently a vege- 
tarian one. 

Feeling toward the rich, who were able to have everything 
which could be produced in Germany in the way of food, grew 
intense and resulted in the spring strikes and food riots about 
which so much was written in the American papers. None of 
these in reality was serious, and all were very quickly quelled. 
During the principal strike of these months it was significant 
that the boulevard cafes and restaurants kept open house, but 
behind drawn shades, so as not to arouse violence on the part of 
the passing poor, who would otherwise see the rich patron sip 
his cup of tea or coffee, both substitute products, and partake of 
fine-looking cake, which in reality was most unpalatable, being 
made largely of substitute ingredients. 

It was the day of substitutes. During the War it is estimated 
that some 10,000 substitutes were put on the market. For coffee, 
acorns were extensively used and every imaginable foliage was 
utilized in the preparation of tea. Raspberry leaves, blackberry 
leaves, strawberry leaves, the blossoms of the linden tree, dried 
apple skins, all furnished materials used as substitutes for tea. 
Other leaves and foliage were gathered by the men for the manu- 
facture of tobacco, which had also become very scarce in Germany. 
During the years of the War we were witness of the bread lines, 
the butter lines, the sugar lines, the coffee lines, the shoe lines, in 
which the majority of the people were women, and in the last 
half of the year the tobacco lines, where men by the hundreds 
stood in line simply to secure two or three cigars or a half dozen 
cigarettes as their weekly ration. I have often counted 200 men 
standing in one such line in front of a tobacco shop. 

It was during these months that my food reserves were reduced 
to nil, with the result that I, too, had to go into the market and 
compete with other buyers in the hope of getting a few supple- 
mentary luxuries. Thus it was that I paid at this time a dollar 
and a half for a pound of rice, and five and six dollars for a pound 
of butter. Geese, one of the delicacies from the standpoint of the 
German palate, were selling for as high as fifty dollars; and meat 




HOLY' 

RUHL, 
10 



V 
PRIM IPALObSBMNfft 



Palm Sunday . rlan^driSSPll. Evening f raver 

Preacher: The Revrfi. M.Williams 

Wednesday, before Easier. MarrJi27-<3r6PM. Performance ti 'MaryTfeoc/d/en 

d Drama t>y Maurice riaeferlincK. 



Tlhuraddu, > 
Good Friday 

EdMerEvrn, 



Era&ler Day. 



forth 28* 



Performance or %^ flagdskn 



rtafi2g T - H d[3PM Evening J'raw 

Prearfier The Rev H.M, Williams 
■ <■ dr6PM. Performance of "MliiMaddlm 

March 30 TJ %eMiebrnJ{or/MJMd?Jow/fi 
Spring Sower Sfioio 

ar659Pli. fonfemServ/ce 

Subjech The Passion of Christ- 
Speaker. Mr C. Duncan-Jones 

afflRM. &venw Twer 

m Hie Pldffdni Room 

rWch^df^/l.n. .Wi/ Communion 

a r 9i° f) N. ^ #7<tfs < J^/w^ 
dr3L°PM. i venniQ Twer 

Preacher.- Mr. A. J Kemp 



Program for Holy Week, Ruhleben 



THE DAY OP FOOD SUBSTITUTES 113 

— beef, goat meat, and the like — sold underhand, cost from one 
to two dollars a pound. Goat meat sausage, chicken liver sausage, 
and rabbit meat sausage, were displayed in the windows of the 
delicatessen shops at prices ranging from a dollar and a half to 
three dollars a pound, depending upon the constituents employed 
in their manufacture. 

The store windows of the food shops presented a strange ap- 
pearance in their emptiness. In some windows packages in which 
various foods had formerly come were on display, but small signs 
invariably informed the sight-seers that the said parcels were 
empty. In the larger grocery store windows mushrooms at two 
and three dollars a pound, the sausage above referred to, and 
other similar food supplies were on display. Invariably crowds of 
people would gather in front of such windows and longingly look 
in at the food thus shown, commenting on the prices, and then 
turn away regretfully, for they did not have the wherewithal to 
buy the food so invitingly displayed. 

One of the most interesting advertisements which I saw during 
those days was in the restaurant of Wertheim's store, a large 
department store of Berlin. The announcement was made that 
bread could be obtained there without the regulation food cards, 
but in small print the advertisement explained that the bread thus 
obtainable contained no oat, rye, wheat, or corn flour. One 
wondered of what it could be made and on inquiry learned that 
its chief ingredients were pulverized straw and potatoes. 

The following copy of "The Ten War Commandments" issued 
early in 1916 is significant. Very soon even these recommenda- 
tions to economize were useless, for the supplies in question were 
entirely exhausted. 

The Ten War Commandments 

1. Do not eat more than necessary. Avoid eating between 
meals; thereby you will help promote your health. 

2. Regard bread as holy and use each individual piece of bread 
as human food. Dried bread crusts can be used to make a palat- 
able and nourishing soup. 

3. Be economical in the use of butters and fats. Substitute 
syrup, jam, or marmalade for butter in making sandwiches. A 
large part of all fats were formerly imported from foreign countries. 

4. Use extensively both milk and cheese, not forgetting skimmed 
milk and buttermilk. 



114 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

5. Utilize abundant sugar in desserts, for sugar is an excellent 
food. 

6. Cook potatoes with their jackets. Thereby you save twenty 
per cent of their substance. 

7. Decrease your requirements for beer and other alcoholic 
drinks. Thereby you will increase our grain and potato supply, 
out of which beer and alcohol are made. 

8. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and use every bit of tillable 
ground for growing vegetables. However, save canned goods as 
long as fresh vegetables are to be had. 

9. Collect all kitchen refuse no longer suitable for human food, 
to be used for cattle food, but be scrupulously- careful that no 
poisonous substances are included in the waste. 

10. Cook and heat with gas or coke. Thereby you help to create 
an important fertilizer, for in the manufacture of gas and coke 
nitrogenous ammonia as well as other important by-products are 
produced. 

Note, that in the observation of all these commandments you 
are saving for the Fatherland. Therefore those persons must also 
observe these commandments whose finances permit them still to 
live as in the past. 

The quality of beer had gradually become inferior and the 
supply greatly reduced; in April, 1917, I saw the first sign dis- 
played in one of the large beer cafes to the effect that the place 
was closed because of the lack of beer. During the next few 
months many other similar cafes had to close their doors. In 
1918 good beer was rarely to be had. A cafe that succeeded in 
getting a supply would advertise the fact, with the result that 
hours before the time announced for tapping the beer crowds of 
people had gathered in order to get a sip and possibly a glass 
before the limited supply was exhausted. 

With the exception of the large cities, the great reduction in 
both the variety and amount of food available had a most whole- 
some effect on the German constitution, and many remarked that 
they were feeling far better than ever before. It must be under- 
stood, however, that this did not apply to the poorer people in 
the large cities like Berlin, who had always lived on rather limited 
supplies and whose phys que and constitution could not endure 
for any length of time the greatly reduced rations which the War 
brought with it as a result of the blockade. 

With the growing scarcity of food it was obvious that the, 



THE DAY OF FOOD SUBSTITUTES 115 

children of the poorer people suffered intensely. Medical statis- 
tics on the death rate and the spread of tuberculosis revealed that 
the death-dealing influence of the blockade was assuming alarming 
proportions among the children and the aged. Everything pos- 
sible was done to save the lives of the children Very soon regu- 
lations were enforced which confined the distribution of milk to 
children four years and under in age. True, the quantity re- 
ceived was only a pint of skimmed milk a day, far from sufficient 
for a growing youngster. One of the most drastic measures of 
the peace terms is the requirement that Germany surrender 
140,000 milch cows; especially when one recognizes that the 
infant mortality in the large cities has increased sixty per cent 
and more over the normal death rate. Some prominent medical 
authority made the statement that the continuation of the 
blockade would undermine for all time the lives of the German 
children. This has actually occurred, and many of them face 
death before their eighteenth year as a result of the blockade. 
To request the number of cows mentioned above means com- 
plete starvation so far as milk is concerned. 

During the summers of 1916 and 1917 and again, but to a much 
more limited extent, in 1918, the city of Berlin made arrange- 
ments with farmers throughout the empire to board city children. 
In 1917 some 60,000 children from Berlin were thus sent out into 
the country for recuperation. This was one of the biggest pieces 
of social service work done during the War, and one of the most 
needed. A visit to the east side of Berlin will soon reveal to the 
observant and knowing person how frightfully the blockade has 
affected these innocent children. The sad, hungry look in their 
eyes, their lack of vivacious enthusiasm, their anemic appearance, 
their rickety bowlegs, tell the story better than words. Christian 
peoples of the world should consider these children along with 
those of Belgium and France and Armenia, as victims of the War. 

The War led to an alarming recrudescence of tuberculosis in 
Germany; pre-war statistics indicated a marked and growing 
decrease in the death rate due to this disease, but since 1916 
there has been a most alarming increase reinstating tuberculosis 
as the white plague indeed. 

Coal was unusually scarce at this time. Many a day in 1917 
we had to close down at the office because we had no fuel. The 



116 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

question of shutting off the gas supply during certain hours of the 
day was also broached at this time, and later regulations were 
actually adopted whereby gas was shut off for several hours each 
day. It was customary in Germany for the front house door of 
the large apartment buildings to remain unlocked until ten 
o'clock at night, with lights burning in the hallways. To save 
light a regulation was enforced whereby all houses were locked 
at nine and lights out at that time. During the last few months 
of 1917 regulations were enforced limiting the hot water service 
in the large apartment houses and municipal baths to three days 
of the week, usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, in an attempt 
to save coal and gas still further. 

Efforts were made to reduce railroad traffic to conserve the 
fuel supply, by prohibiting the sale of tickets in advance and by 
greatly reducing the train schedules. Supposedly more tickets were 
sold than there were seats available. The result was undue con- 
gestion at all the railway ticket offices and traveling became a 
most difficult matter throughout Germany. The greatly reduced 
schedule meant overcrowded trains, and even an increased tariff 
had little effect in minimizing traffic. In many cases it was 
necessary for the prospective passenger to secure a special permit 
from the police authorities on the ground that his traveling was 
urgent, before he could purchase a ticket. 

In the fall of 1917 the heating of trains and cars was discon- 
tinued. Similarly the illumination of the cars was reduced to a 
minimum. Many of the Berlin suburban trains were in total 
darkness, so that one had 'to grope his way into the coupes or 
compartments in order to find a seat. 

Rolling stock had deteriorated seriously; lack of proper lubri- 
cating oils resulted in numerous hot boxes. On several occasions 
the passengers were compelled to dismount during the middle of 
the night, in order that the car with the hot boxes could be un- 
hitched and left on the side track as the rest of the train pro- 
ceeded on its trip. Time and again long delays resulted because 
of the breakdown of the engine, necessitating the bringing of a 
new engine from considerable distances to continue the run. 

The increasing shortage of food and clothing in Germany had 
dire consequences for the prisoners of war who were dependent 
upon the Germans for their food. The Russians, Serbians, and 



THE DAY OF POOD SUBSTITUTES 117 

Roumanians suffered most, and increasing difficulties for our 
work resulted. 

It was not easy to enter a camp to confer with the committee in 
charge, bringing recommendations that they organize schools and 
the like, and to be confronted by their reply, "Bring us bread and 
then we will organize the activities you propose." Everything 
possible was done to secure supplies locally, as well as from the 
neutral countries, and most emphatic appeals were sent out to 
those in power that supplies be provided if we were to avert 
catastrophe. It has been stated that in the earlier years our 
organization made an effort to supply food parcels for individual 
prisoners of war who were referred to us by our field secretaries 
as specially in need. In this way some 10,000 to 30,000 prisoners 
of war were taken care of each month; but with 1,500,000 in need 
of assistance one readily appreciates how insignificant and utterly 
inadequate our relief proved to be. Through the efforts of Her 
Royal Highness, the Crown Princess of Sweden, considerable 
quantities of cod-liver oil were received, which proved tremendously 
helpful to the invalid prisoners and especially those weak from 
starvation. One of our secretaries visited a hospital in eastern 
Germany, where he found from 600 to 700 full-grown men lying 
listlessly on their beds, too weak to do anything else, not one 
of whom weighed much over seventy-five pounds. In camps of 
this character ten to forty men died a day. We did our utmost 
to secure permission to buy food in the neutral countries for men 
of this type and such others as were in need; but unfortunately 
orders from the Allied countries prohibited such purchase and 
importation. It was argued that to provide these Russians with 
food served to increase their capacity for work and therefore 
feeding them would aid the Germans. Such are the relentless 
and cruel exigencies of war. 

Our position was rendered all the more difficult when the dif- 
ferent Russian relief committees begged and implored us to 
provide food for them, even agreeing to pay for it. It must be 
remembered that many of the Russians had been working and 
had saved their earnings, for there was no way in which to spend 
money. We had entered into negotiations with the German au- 
thorities, as well as with the Danish authorities through our 
Danish office, and had succeeded after much effort in securing all 



118 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

necessary permits for the purchase of food in neutral countries 
and for its shipment directly to the prison camps, with the pro- 
viso that the prisoners would pay for this food. Everything 
seemed arranged and we issued our letter to the Russian relief 
committees, telling them that we were prepared to assist them 
in securing food supplies so far as they were available. Orders 
were immediately received. Thus the Russians of one camp 
alone requested 80,000 marks worth of food a month, for which 
they agreed to pay. However, after we had forwarded these 
requests to our Copenhagen office, additional orders issued by the 
Allies put an end to the entire project, with the result that we had 
to refund the money paid in to us by the prisoners and in deep 
humiliation acknowledge that we had failed. One need not speak 
of the despair which this produced among the Russians concerned. 
Conditions in the hospitals due to scarcity of medical supplies, 
bandages, and the like, were becoming most aggravating. In an 
effort to render aid we were fortunate again in securing the help 
of Her Royal Highness, the Crown Princess of Sweden, who 
kindly sent us scores of medicine chests which were distributed 
in camps and hospitals where they were most needed. One of 
our secretaries purchased a flock of chickens and secured per- 
mission from the German authorities for a group of the prisoners 
to care for them; in this way he succeeded in providing a limited 
supply of eggs for the convalescents. But here again we were 
compelled to resort to much red tape in order to secure the per- 
mission required, for it must be remembered that chickens were 
becoming scarce in Germany. It was largely due to the scarcity 
of hens that we were restricted to one egg per person every three 
weeks. One of the government measures required that each 
farmer must surrender to the authorities a certain percentage of 
the eggs produced on his farm. Obviously the Germans did not 
wish the supply of chickens to be transferred to the prison camps, 
to supply the prisoners rather than the German populace. 



CHAPTER XIII 
CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 

Camp Darmstadt has been described and the statement made 
that most of the German camps were similarly organized. Such, 
however, was not the case, as an extensive trip through east and 
west Prussia visiting a number of the camps revealed. On this 
trip the following camps were visited: Danzig, Czersh, Tuchel, 
Hammerstein, Buetow, Schneidemuehl, Stargard, and Altdamm. 
Most of these camps revealed organization and equipment far 
inferior to the camps in western and southern Germany, such as 
Darmstadt, Giessen, and the like. In many of these camps I 
arrived unannounced, thus preventing the possibility of getting 
the 'camp into a dress parade condition for my visit. 

In a similar manner camps in Bavaria, Saxony, and northern 
and western Germany were visited. In some of these the hospital 
barracks were not as good as those at Darmstadt. Some camps 
contained more provision for athletics, schools, theatricals, and 
the like than others. In the three camps about Minister in 
Westphalia the general arrangement was that of a large quad- 
rangle, the barracks forming one continuous perimeter of housing 
facilities about the quadrangle. Friedrichsfelde, up near the 
Holland frontier, was one of the best organized and equipped 
camps I saw. Most of the officers' camps were either in garrisons, 
old castles, or forts. At Crefeld, Bischofswerda, and Heidelberg, 
German officers' garrisons were utilized. At Guetersloh a newly 
built provincial hospital was used to house some 1,200 Russian 
officers. In the case of Beeskow, Torgau, Mayence, old forts had 
been adapted to accommodate the officers. In Koenigstein and 
Plassenburg old castles were utilized and at Villingen, where 
American officers were later interned, as well as at Burg, near 
Magdeburg, wooden barracks similar to those in most of the 
privates' camps were used. 

The camps in east and west Prussia, however, possessed com- 
paratively few barracks. In all of them semi-dugouts served as 

119 



120 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

human habitations, chiefly for the hordes of Russian prisoners 
taken during the big advance of the Germans into Russia. It 
will be pointed out later that the first American doughboys cap- 
tured by the Germans were housed in Camp Tuchel, so that a 
more or less detailed description of the quarters will be of interest. 
The barracks, better named underground hovels, had just enough 
above ground to escape being called dugouts. They were long, 
narrow affairs, the men sleeping on each side of the long central 
aisle, head toward the aisle, feet toward the side walls. There 
was little room for anything else, and in winter, so I was told, 
when the heavy snows of this region alternately thawed and 
froze, the interiors of these dugouts were bitterly cold and damp, 
resulting in much sickness, among those forced to live in them. 
It is true that the German authorities provided a large barrack 
as an assembly hall in these camps; but with from 10,000 to 30,000 
prisoners in each it is needless to say that the assembly hall fur- 
nished proved entirely inadequate for the men. 

While in camp Czersh I was the witness of a most tragic pro- 
cession. Two Russian prisoners were being brought to the hos- 
pitals on stretchers carried by their companions. The patients 
lay practically lifeless, the vapor of their breath being the only 
evidence that they were alive. On inquiry I learned that they 
were suffering from pneumonia, that there were daily many such 
unfortunate victims brought to the hospital, and that many died. 
Malnutrition, coupled with the cold and dampness of their habi- 
tations, was making big inroads on their numbers. The sight 
was pitiable in the extreme. It was horrible in its awful sadness, 
for human life seemed so very cheap. The cold winter day, with 
the small hillocks covered with snow, representing the dugouts, 
and a dark, heavy sky, all emphasized the tragic loneliness and 
desolation of the scene. 

In the camp cemetery many crosses pointing skyward mutely 
told the story of the suffering of the men who had died in this 
camp. More than ever the men in camps of this character needed 
someone who would be friend and companion, for they were 
friendless and forsaken ones. The principle of German discipline 
and supervision eliminated the heart-throb of relationship be- 
tween men, and the Russian after all is a mere child who thrives 
almost more on love and friendship than on food; nothing is more 



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CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 121 

depressing to him than the realization that his superior has little 
or no regard for his welfare. True, in most camps one or more 
of the German representatives gave evidence of a human heart, 
and such men were truly loved by the big Russian, boy as he 
is. I recall one of the German doctors who thus showed com- 
passion and sympathy for the prisoners in his charge. Any num- 
ber of Russians requested to have their pictures taken arm and 
arm with this German doctor. 

Hammerstein was one of the biggest camps in this section and 
had facilities to accommodate some 50,000 prisoners of war, 
although at one time they had as high as 65,000 men in the 
camp. This camp was far more attractive than the others in the 
section, although it, too, had one compound made up of under- 
ground hovels. It was divided into a number of compounds, each 
segregated from the other. As we passed from one compound to 
another we found some entertainment going on in each — in one 
a concert, in another theatricals, both well attended. Everything 
was spick and span here; the men were clean, looked comparatively 
well, and, especially at the entertainments, seemed to be in the 
best of spirits. I attributed the far brighter atmosphere which - 
prevailed in this camp to the fact that the German officers in 
charge were more humane and sympathetic than those found in 
the other camps. At the time of my visit there were approxi- 
mately 12,000 men in the camp, although, as stated above, there 
had at one time been as high as 65,000. In such a camp, with 
special compounds segregated from one another, it was most 
difficult for us to carry on our work; nevertheless, there was much 
that could be done. This was all the more true at Hammerstein, 
for a large number of Russian doctors and students were available 
to lead any classes that might be organized. The camp contained 
4,000 Ukrainians, who were being concentrated there for transfer 
to a special propaganda camp. Here, too, one found many Ger- 
man Russians, most of whom were Protestant, belonging to the 
Mennonite faith. Devout, sincere, and patient, they formed an 
interesting and inspiring group. 

. At Danzig the prisoners of war lived in the canal boats and 
one or two of the larger freight steamers which had been captured 
by the Germans. The kitchen, canteen, hospital, and theater 
were on shore and to these the men had access during the day. 



122 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

The canal boat as an habitation for prisoners left much to be 
desired, especially from a sanitary standpoint. In most cases old 
coal barges had simply been covered with a sloping roof, and in 
the hull of the barge beds or bunks were erected to serve as sleep- 
ing quarters. Here, too, the men were troubled with the cold and 
dampness. One of the most appreciated things later done here 
was to provide the hospital with instruments by means of which 
convalescent patients could limber up the joints that had become 
stiff through long disuse. 

On completing my trip to this section I felt deeply the need of 
loving, sympathetic patience and the friendship of a consecrated 
Christian man to work among these men, who impressed me 
more than ever as being mere ignorant children. Personally I 
would have liked to go to these camps and serve the men there. 
We were fortunate some time later in securing a good secretary 
for these camps. He rendered invaluable service, for there were 
no camps where such help was more needed. 

Numerous attempts were made by prisoners of war to smuggle 
news home to the loved ones by the use' of special codes, invisible 
writing, and the like. In Germany the Allied prisoners used such 
substances as sugar water, onion juice, and diluted condensed 
milk for their invisible writing. These became visible on heating 
the paper. Evidently the German censors became aware of these 
attempts and subsequently all prisoner-of-war mail was subjected 
to a heating process in order to reveal any attempt at invisible 
writing. In other cases a chemical substance was utilized, which 
was supposed to reveal concealed writing of any character. 

One of the most clever attempts to get past the censor was a 
post card written by a German prisoner to his relatives in Ger- 
many. Recognizing that it was not in the writer's usual free and 
easy style, they proceeded to study the message carefully, finally 
discovering that they were to read only every other line. The 
message so secured was the exact counterpart of the entire mes- 
sage as written. It is quoted herewith: 

"Dear Parents: 

Your card of May 21st and the postal money orders have been received. 
Here in Nickolsk-Ussuriski food is very, very 

much the main thing. We receive bread and soup so that our condition is not 
Bad. The soup is served at noon and again at 6 p. m., and is 



CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 123 

Quickly eaten. Thirst we quench with tea. Ordinarily we drink 
Pure water. All winter in the cold damp 

Days we suffered less from thirst than now during the heat. In the 
Rooms on cold bunks and minus blankets and mattresses we must sleep 
In order to be tolerably cool. Soon the summer heat will come to an end. 
Otherwise I am well. 

Hearty greetings." 

The above translation, in spite of its stiffness, is sufficiently clear 
to show the difference between the message as a whole and that 
part which is underlined, which the prisoner wished to convey to 
his parents. 

The following quoted from the report of one of the secretaries 
illustrates the impressions received on camp visits: 

"January 10, 1917. Magdeburg Officers' Camp has the advan- 
tage of being in the midst of city activity, which it must interest 
the men to watch. The rooms are good and warm, but, according 
to the opinion of several officers, a bit too large. The theater 
seems greatly appreciated and also the tennis court, which at 
the time of my visit was being flooded to make an ice-skating 
rink. Several officers expressed a desire for some little barrack 
or work-room, where handicraft articles could be made without 
disturbing others and where perhaps some educational classes 
could be held. 

"January 11, 1917. Burg is well laid out as an officers' camp, 
accommodating 800 men. An admirably large amount of space 
is available for exercise and sports. The 6,000 mark kinetoscope, 
the theater, and the chapel are fine features of the camp life. I 
was also glad to note the commissary commission elected from 
among the interned officers to manage the kitchen. 

"January 12, 1917. Altengrabow's individual bedsteads greatly 
impressed me. Throughout the soldiers' camps of the Fourth 
Army Corps, I noticed a general effort to avoid two and three 
deck bunks. In this camp there is ample room for exercise and 
tennis courts are also provided. The French and English com- 
mittees send books from the camp library to the working com- 
mandos. 

"January 13, 1917. Halle is called a 'reprisal' camp for French 
officers, but it was not nearly as bad as I had been led to expect. 
The barracks are warm, but the large rooms make personal privacy 
exceedingly difficult. In the large dining hall a temporary stage 
was being erected for theatrical performances. A little barrack is 
set aside for school purposes. 

"January 13, 1917. Merseburg is well located on a knoll. It 
has never had any serious illness among its men. The folding 



124 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

bedsteads require more floor space than the built-in bed, but are 
much more desirable. A cook house for each company makes it 
possible for the men to cook the contents of their parcels. Coal 
is furnished free and light until nine p. m. The wash-house for 
each company has running hot water. But the most favorable 
impression carried from this camp is its system of having each 
man receive and open his own parcels.- 

"January 15, 1917. Fort Zinna, Torgau. 'For twenty months 
we have not had the slightest reason to complain against the Ger- 
man officers of this camp,' said the French General to me. 'We 
only wish some better way of examining and delivering tinned 
goods and parcels could be devised. It is so unbecoming for an 
officer to stand in line with a soup bowl waiting his turn at the 
pleasure of a German "unteroffizier" (non-commissioned officer). 
But this examination is a general order, so we find no fault with 
our camp commander in the matter. These officers are true 
gentlemen.' 

"January 15, 1917. Fort Bruckenkopf, Torgau, has made 
special effort to provide small individual rooms. Good provision 
is made for church, school, theater, and exercise. The gardens in 
summer must be very attractive. 

"January 16, 1917. Wittenberg's famous church and castle I 
found artistically engraved upon a bone napkin ring by a French 
soldier. Surely these historic surroundings must have a good 
effect upon the thoughtful men. The mail censor's office was 
admirably arranged. The information offices where prisoners of 
war can come to an interpreter for any kind of advice or informa- 
tion impressed me most favorably. In several other camps I 
have been told by the men that they felt they had no easy road 
of approach to the German authorities. This plan at Wittenberg 
aims to avoid such a feeling. The postal card used by Russians 
here is also a splendid idea. 

"January 18, 1917. Stendal's kitchen 'commission,' its big 
library for the Frenchmen, and the extra field for sports impressed 
me. The men were enthusiastic over the concerts which they are 
allowed to carry on among themselves. An additional fine point 
is the health record. 

"January 19, 1917. Quedlinburg has a fine orchestra under the 
leadership of an active Chef de Musique, an interest in the organi- 
zation of a school was also manifested. Individual cooking is 
here allowed in the specially provided barrack cook-house until 
seven p. m. The camp bakery is the finest I have seen in any 
camp. 

"January 20, 1917. Zerbst has a number of the good features 
already noticed in other camps, but the fine spirit of its Russian 



CAMPS IN BAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 125 

physicians and the attractive appearance of its Russian priest 
made a distinct impression on me. It was quite appropriate that 
Zerbst should represent my last brief camp visit. 

"I think I am safe in saying that the two following expressions 
are typical of a general spirit: 

"1. A German camp commander: 'Your visit brings a most 
welcome break into the lives of these officers. It also makes them 
feel that they are not forgotten. Don't think you can come too 
often nor that your visit is ever valueless.' 

"2. An English Sergeant-Major: 'I have been looking forward 
to your coming with keen anticipation and I wish I could make 
you understand just how much it has meant to me personally to 
have had you visit us.' He had followed me to the very limit of 
his compound to bid me good-by and to beg for an early return. 
No wonder I enjoy this work. 

"The first outstanding impression from this series of visits is the 
courtesy and hospitality of the German officers and their staffs. 
It seemed so genuine. Also with few exceptions the men in au- 
thority gave evidence of a heart interest in their prisoners of war. 
They give more of themselves to their men than mere duty re- 
quires. This is also true of the camp interpreters. In some cases 
I have observed interpreters and camp censors working through 
their noon rest period and on into the night, in order to give 
promptly to their prisoners of war their increasing incoming mail." 

The following is quoted from another secretary's report: 

"To my great satisfaction I am able to begin this report with 
the news that I have received permission to visit Arbeitskomman- 
dos, that is, all commandos where more than twenty men are 
employed. I have already visited a small number of these and, 
as far as I can see, our work there will be, first, to ascertain what 
things may be presented to the prisoners, such as books, musical 
instruments, writing material, and games; and, second, to en- 
deavor to establish as close a connection as possible between the 
various commandos and the' head committees of the camps, so 
that the men may have the full benefit of the libraries in the 
camps in question. Further, I hope that I may receive permission 
when visiting the Arbeitskommandos to take a magic lantern with 
me and show the prisoners pictures. Perhaps it may also be 
possible to arrange for a phonograph to be sent from commando 
to commando, so as to provide occasional concerts. 

"I have found in the inspection of the camps in Saxony the 
greatest readiness to make arrangements for movie performances, 
that is, in working detachments with over 100 men. In some of 



126 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the larger detachments it has already been agreed that the pris- 
oners be taken to the local movie, where they may have their 
own performances. In some of these commandos the German 
guards as well as the German laborers have their performances 
after those of the prisoners. The prisoners pay an admission of 
thirty pfennigs (seven and one half cents) and are generally very 
much interested in the performance, as well as in the walk to the 
kino and back. I know of a very large Arbeitskommando, a mine, 
where the time for the kino performances is taken from the regular 
working hours. In one camp the Kommandantur is of the opinion 
that it is not advisable to arrange for more entertainment in the 
home camp than in the working detachments. I have therefore 
suggested that an orchestra be formed in the camp, which may 
be permitted to visit the larger commandos for the purpose of 
giving concerts. The Kommandantur has promised to consider 
this matter and I hope that before the Russian Easter the or- 
chestra may begin its concert tours." 

It should be stated that prior to our activity in the working 
detachments several camp commanders discouraged our camp 
activities, on the plea that the promotion of too many enter- 
tainment features in the present camps would create dissatisfac- 
tion among the men on working detachments deprived of such 
privileges; urther, that it would discourage desire on the part 
of the men in the camps to go out on working detachments. 

It is of interest to note the different desires and requests of tne 
prisoners. Among the ordinary Russians the chief desire nat- 
urally was for food. True, many were anxious to secure the icon 
for use in their personal devotions. In the early days of war 
prison history in Germany one of our secretaries asked the British 
Tommies for a list of the things which they wanted most. These 
men had just come from the front, had not yet had time to re- 
ceive food parcels from home, and up to date had had no letters 
from home. The list received was the following: Hair-cutting 
scissors, razors, razor strops, shaving soap, shaving brushes, hair 
brushes, combs, clothing brushes, toilet soap, laundry soap, boot 
brushes — all articles for the maintenance of personal cleanliness. 
These were the things that these British Tommies wanted most 
at a time when one would have thought desire for food would be 
uppermost. 

The demand for musical instruments continued to grow through- 
out the course of our work. Apparently "music hath charms" 



CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 127 

even in a prison camp, and from all our observations one may 
conclude that it was one of the most important factors in main- 
taining the morale of the prisoners. This morale was truly mar- 
velous, even though one realized that the attempt to be cheerful 
caused the men much effort. At Doeberitz the camp motto, 
"Always merry and bright," was chosen and the men truly lived 
up to it. 

To meet the need for music we were fortunate in having an 
arrangement with one of the large music firms in Leipzig whereby 
it was possible to secure practically all the instruments required. 
Mouth-organs and harmonicas were popular among the Russians 
and were supplied in large numbers by us. During 1917 we 
promoted the use of phonographs in camps and especially in the 
working detachments, as well as in the hospitals, and in order to 
give the maximun change of program arranged for a large series 
of sets of twenty phonograph records each, to be exchanged from 
time to time. The plan was to allow each camp or group to return 
its series of records at the end of a month and to receive from 
headquarters a new series. Thus each camp received every 
month from ten to twenty new records. Similarly, arrangements 
were made by one of the secretaries for a regular exchange of 
musical compositions in the camps of his territory, so that the 
camp orchestra had a large repertoire of selections for the con- 
certs and other occasions where it played. 

At the Burg officers' camp I was present on the arrival of a 
soldier who had recently been captured at the Somme and had 
been sent to this officers' camp to serve as orderly to one of the 
officers. It was most amusing to see the generals and other high 
officers long imprisoned asking the orderly for his opinion with 
reference to the future and the outcome of the War, because he 
had the most recent information on the situation. In this same 
camp fourteen attempts to escape by tunneling had been made. 
One tunnel was fifty-eight meters, or 174 feet, long before it was 
discovered by the German authorities and the attempted escape 
frustrated. 

In several cases consideration for the most needy prisoners 
resulted in a fine spirit of helpfulness. Thus at Camp Dyrotz the 
British prisoners contributed from their parcel supplies a large 
quantity of food which on Christmas day was distributed among 



128 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the far more needy Russian prisoners of the camp. This unex- 
pected show of generosity was met by the tearful gratitude of the 
Russians who benefited thereby. In another camp at our sug- 
gestion some 600 pairs of socks were contributed and turned over 
to us for distribution among Serbian prisoners. The most striking 
instance of such a sacrificial spirit is that of a Russian student in 
one of the camps, who denied himself his scanty supper in order 
to give the portion thus saved to some hungrier comrade. The 
student in question was himself suffering from malnutrition and 
yet made this sacrifice on behalf of his fellow-prisoners. 

In Camp Doeberitz regulations were frequently made more 
severe as a punishment for the attempted escape of several of the 
prisoners, the entire camp being made to suffer the penalty for 
the offense of a few. The penalty imposed was usually in the form 
of restriction of various entertainment features in the camp. 
Thus an order was issued that all lights were to be off throughout 
the month of February, 1916. One of the British Tommies very 
dryly remarked that it certainly was the irony of fate that the 
February in question should have twenty-nine days, which meant 
one more day of darkness than would have been the case any 
other normal year. 

The following poem will best serve to illustrate the spirit of 
many of the prisoners of war. It was composed by one of the 
prisoners and put to music by the director of the men's chorus. 
To hear thirty to forty well-trained voices sing this song in the 
prison camp and realize that the men singing it were thus ex- 
pressing their own thought left a deep impression upon the listener. 

Harvest, 1915 

Thou, Who hast set apart the souls 
Of those within these prison walls, 
Shielding them from blood and death, 
Make us wise with every breath. 
Held immune from mortal strife, 
See Thy disciples, Lord of Life. 

Hostages of England, we 

With trembling spirits do foresee 

How England's spirit, England's name, 

Look to us to lift her fame. 

Here we found it in the dust, 

Let us raise it as the Host. 




French Types 




Arrival in Camp op French and British Prisoners 



CAMPS IN EAST AND "WEST PRUSSIA 129 

Hostages of Heaven as well, 
We the future may foretell, 
How by us the time to come 
Deeply shall be worked upon 
Brothers now in dim retreat, 
Live to make that story sweet. 

Lord, Thy furrow now is ploughed 
By a share that drippeth blood. 
We with souls that often bleed 
Germinate the future seed, 
Till as sowers forth we go 
All the ravaged earth to sow. 

Every night the sun goes down 
On a vast reverberate groan. 
Every day it rises up 
May our spirits humbler stoop, 
Knowing finer souls than we 
Now understand Eternity. 

For lofty spirits every day 
From this ember drift away, 
Spent in total sacrifice; 
Human and divine they rise 
Leaving widowed Earth bereft; 
They are taken, we are left. 

We are left. Behold us, Lord, 
Vessels of Thy mystic Word, 
Fashioning our souls in pain, 
Let us suffer not in vain; 
Flawless be our conscious mold 
Chalices of beaten gold. 

Thousands yield their precious Dreath 
To the bleak accountant, Death, 
Since naught else of theirs will pay 
All the nations owe today. 
Other powers claim our strife, 
Enemies not of death, but Life. 

Father, let us understand 
How Thine insuperable command 
Moved and held and holds us where 
We may Thy priceless gifts repair. 
We cannot give as gave the dead, 
But lo! We offer life instead. 



130 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

So that when in Thine own spring 
War shall droop his iron wing, 
East and West and South and Nor.th, 
Regenerate we shall go forth: 
Masters of the secret grain 
Bringing plenty out of pain. 

On one occasion it was suggested that we sing "God Send Us 
Men." After singing all four verses a number of the prisoners 
proposed that we change the first line of each of the four verses 
which began with the words "God send us men," to "God make 
us men." 

In this same camp a group of the older men took upon them- 
selves the responsibility of looking after the younger element, a 
group of some twenty-odd boys ranging in age from sixteen to 
twenty years. Similarly efforts were made to look after the 
colored men in the camp who were housed in a separate barrack 
of their own and numbered over 100. A Canadian student or- 
ganized a Bible class among these men which met regularly and 
had a wholesome effect on the men. 

In another camp the British Tommies organized a soldiers' 
Christian Association, making an effort to maintain their mem- 
bership at not less than thirty. In view of the constant transfer 
of men from the camp to the working detachments this was not 
always an easy task, for frequently many members of the Asso- 
ciation were sent out and the remaining members were compelled 
to do intensive personal work in order to win others to join the 
Association. It was a principle which was recognized among the 
members that whoever was sent out on a working detachment 
was supposed to make an effort to organize a similar Association 
in the working detachment to which he was assigned. To this 
principle most of the men adhered religiously, with the result 
that from the one parent Association in the camp some twenty- 
three other nuclei were formed around which gathered groups of 
serious-minded and religious men. 

In still another camp the chairman of the religious committee 
stated that as a result of personal work carried on by individual 
men twenty-three of the prisoners had been won to Christ. In 
the camp at Minister a special church paper was edited and pub- 
lished. The circulation of this was at first confined to the camp 



CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 131 

in question, but later on it was distributed to subscribers in other 
camps. 

Religious services for Russians were invariably held whenever 
it was possible to secure a Russian priest to conduct them. There 
were not many such Russian priests among the prisoners, and 
those who were available had unfortunately come under sus- 
picion by the German authorities as men who could not be relied 
upon. The German officials had granted permission to many of 
the priests to visit from camp to camp in order to minister to 
the Russian prisoners of war. Some of the priests, however, util- 
ized this privilege to convey messages from one camp to the 
other, with the result that the German authorities soon put a 
stop to the itinerant priest. 

For special religious ministrations, such as communion services 
and burial services, provision was made by the German authorities. 
Usually communion services were conducted by a representative 
of the nationality taking the sacrament, but where this was not 
possible a German clergyman officiated. To me nothing seemed 
more desolate and tragic than the burial services. To die a 
stranger in a strange land and to be buried in the enemy's country, 
far distant from one's native land, was something which most men 
would naturally think of with considerable anxiety and dread. 
The cemeteries were usually kept up by comrades of the dead 
and in most cases were truly all that the German name implied, 
"Friedhof," or "Yard of Peace." In one or two places where 
there had been epidemics these cemeteries were rather large, but 
fortunately most of them were small. During the last year of 
the war, when the food supplies which the Germans could give 
to the prisoners were entirely inadequate for their needs, and 
when tuberculosis and influenza were widespread, the number of 
graves in many cemeteries was greatly augmented. This was 
particularly true of the camps where Russians, Roumanians, and 
Serbians were interned. To see row on row of earth mounds, 
each with its cross, and to be conscious of the fact that each 
grave held some mother's son, brought home to one as perhaps 
nothing else could have done the awfulness of war. 

In a number of the camps a cemetery memorial contest was 
arranged, the prisoners themselves choosing by popular vote the 
design to be used in the erection of the permanent memorial in 



132 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the cemetery. I quote herewith from a speech made by a Russian 
priest at the dedication of a cemetery memorial erected for his 
deceased fellow-countrymen of the camp : 

"As in most countries of the world, so in our distant homeland 
the last resting place of man is the object of special reverence and 
care. The relatives decorate the graves of the loved ones, pray 
there for the one gone to eternal sleep, and in times of great 
sorrow frequently flee to the grave of the departed one, there to 
hold communion with him and to receive comfort for the heart 
therefrom. Here neither mourning parents, wives, and children, 
nor brothers and sisters can come to the graves of our Russian 
comrades in their place of eternal rest. But none the less the 
loving thought of the loved ones continues unabated. Anxious 
supplication for the peace of their souls will rise to the throne of 
God from the hearts of the dear ones back in our homeland. It 
must bring consolation and relief to those left behind to learn 
that their dead are not forgotten and that their graves are not 
obliterated here in the strange and enemy country, but that they 
have found their resting place in a cemetery worthy of a Chris- 
tian, that the graves are cared for and decorated, and that here a 
fitting memorial such as few would have received in the home- 
land has been dedicated to their memory. 

"But it is just this that has been created here, thanks to the 
Christian love of their fellow-prisoners, who perhaps have sac- 
rificed their last cent for this splendid purpose which has been 
permitted, thanks to the humane attitude of the camp com- 
mandant to whom all creedal and nationalistic hatred is remote. 
As the appointed representative of the true and only Church and 
of the sincerely faithful people of Russia I regard it my pleasant 

duty to thank you, General , in the name of the relatives of 

the dead here buried and in the name of all the Russian prisoners 
here, and to express to you our deep feeling of gratitude for your 
efforts to help in making this last resting place of our fellow- 
countrymen fittingly beautiful. I also have pleasure in thanking 
you for your moral and material support in the erection of this 
monument, which I express in terms of our Russian word, 'Spas- 
sibo.' With your kind permission I will now proceed to unveil 
and to dedicate this monument in accordance with the ritual and 
rites of our religion." 

At Konigsbruck, the Russian cemetery memorial in the camp 
has as its inscription the following significant words from Psalm 
119: "Let my cry come near before thee, Oh Lord." 

The following epitaph is taken from The Link, a magazine that 
was published in Camp Doeberitz: 



CAMPS IN EAST AND WEST PRUSSIA 133 

"Past yon green field, 'neath whispering trees 
Which, nodding, seem to guard your perfect rest, 
Sleep on, tho' battle fields and troubled seas 
Divide your grave from all you loved the best. 
In life enfettered, held in foreign hand, 
Your spirit saddened, spent and breaking nigh, 
In one last struggle, soared, to land 
Victorious beyond the pale of man. On high, 
Ended all, when comes th' inevitable time 
For all to answer to the only Judge of man 
'You died a prisoner!' But the crime? 
Defending those you loved, your home — and mine." 

— E. H. B. 



In several camps we furnished part of the funds for the erection 
of a fitting cemetery memorial. In Rastatt special headstones for 
each American who had died were erected and a large memorial 
stone placed on the plot. We realized what such commemoration 
must mean to the relatives concerned. 

In 1917 the German press called attention to the action of the 
Panama Republic, claiming that German subjects had not only 
been interned there, but had been forced to do hard labor in 
stone quarries and the like. Just how much truth was contained 
in these rumors I have had no means of ascertaining. Be that 
as it may, shortly after these press reports a number of Panama 
men who were in Germany at the time were interned by the 
German Government. I knew personally three such Pana- 
manians who were studying at the University of Berlin and who 
had been permitted to continue their studies up to that time. 

According to their story they were called upon early one 
morning by a German police official and ordered to accompany 
him immediately. They were thus unable to make any arrange- 
ment whatever for their departure. On coming to the head- 
quarters they were told that they were to be sent to Holzminden, 
one of the civilian camps, for internment. The Panamanians at 
once requested permission to provide themselves with adequate 
clothing, a request which fortunately was granted. On arrival 
at Holzminden one of the men became ill and was placed in the 
hospital of the camp, where he maintains he received good treat- 
ment. His two companions, however, were set to work in one 
of the near by stone quarries. It seems that in the camp the men 



134 IN THE PRISON CAMPS . OP GERMANY 

were classified, on the basis of their physical ability, to do manual 
labor, into groups known as A, Al, B, Bl, and so on. Mr. Bios, 
the man who became ill, soon recovered, but was physically weak 
and was placed in class Bl. As soon as he was able to get about 
he was ordered to work, his job being the making of brooms. 
Here his treatment was quite different from that which prevailed 
in the hospital. 

With many of his fellow-prisoners he was herded in the morn- 
ing to one of the barracks, where they were locked in throughout 
the day, one hour at noon being reserved for their meal and rest. 
In relating his experiences he described how the most efficient 
worker of his group was able to make at most three brooms a day. 
He himself never succeeded in making more than one a day. 
In payment for this labor they received one pfennig per broom. 

At the end of the first month he received from the camp au- 
thorities a rather officious document signifying that during the 
month he had earned thirty pfennig. Immediately after the 
armistice he and his companions were released, all three returning 
to Berlin, where arrangements were made, in cooperation with 
the American military mission, for their immediate repatriation 
to the homeland via France. Through a friend of the men resid- 
ing in Hamburg we received word of their internment and were 
able through our office in Denmark to send them food parcels 
regularly. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

The big offensive drive which was to be the last supreme effort 
to wrest victory before all hope of it was completely gone, was 
to be staged early in 1918. Renewed efforts to provide adequate 
munitions, additional men pulled in by the drive, a larger num- 
ber of women compelled to leave their homes and to take the 
places of the men in the munitions factories— these were some of 
the immediate consequences. Men long secure in the conscious- 
ness that they would not be drafted, because of some physical or 
other disability, were called out. The last remnants of the men 
in the villages were taken. It was common to hear people speak 
of the offensive in terms of the 480,000 lives which Ludendorff 
cold-bloodedly stated it would cost. Realization was dawning 
that this indeed was to be decisive, that failure to win a complete 
victory now meant the loss of the War, and with this realization 
came increased intensity and determination, the desire to make 
the supreme sacrifice. During the year 1917 the repeated ham- 
mering of the Allies and the determined resistance of the Germans 
had cost the latter tremendous losses in man power, with the 
result that even during that year most men, including many who 
were physically disabled, were drafted into service. In prepara- 
tion for the 1918 drive seventeen and eighteen-year-old boys 
were mustered into the service and were put through a hurried 
six weeks' or two months' training at the garrisons and then sent 
to the front. Naturally such tremendous drafts of men badly 
crippled and threatened to underman the entire industry of 
munition manufacture. The knowledge of this danger -was, no 
doubt, responsible for Ludendorff's recommendation resulting in 
the institution of the compulsory draft of both men and women 
civilians, which secured supplementary forces for the munition 
factories. 

No doubt many prisoners, especially Russians, were drafted 
for service in the various processes of manufacturing munitions 

135 



136 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

during these months of feverish haste to prepare for the big drive. 
The following case, while the only one that came to our direct 
attention, was no doubt typical of many. Sometime in January, 
1918, a Russian Pole came to the office, according to his story 
suffering most seriously from lung trouble and asthma. He had 
been a horse-trader, but was taken prisoner by the advancing 
Germans and interned by them. Being a Pole, he was later 
released on condition that he would work in a munition factory. 
This he did, but because of his weakened condition soon became 
ill. The authorities attributed his illness to unwillingness to work 
and placed him under military arrest, where he spent two years 
and a half. Finally, his health completely ruined, and a complete 
wreck of his former self, he was released and permitted to go 
home. He spoke in a whisper, his voice evidently having been 
affected by his illness. At the time of his coming he was badly 
in need of money and above all of food. I gave him the sand- 
wiches that comprised my noonday meal. At first he refused to 
accept them, not wishing to deprive me, but was finally per- 
suaded to take them, as well as some additional bread cards and 
some money. As he left he kissed me in gratitude for the little I 
had been able to do for him. 

To secure maximum service from the civilian population forced 
to serve in the munition factories, every effort possible was made 
to provide them with adequate recompense and food for the labor 
involved. Thus it was that munition wo kers invariably received 
more food than the remaining civilian population. Special 
bonuses, as it were, of fat, sausage, flour, and the like were granted 
at frequent intervals. These workers were kept under the most 
rigid discipline. In the spring of 1918 the 1,900 workers in one 
of the factories of Berlin went on strike. As punishment over 
800 of them were immediately sent to the front, although many 
were physically unfit for military service. 

As a counter measure against the growing dissatisfaction among 
munition workers and their desire to strike, the following quota- 
tion from a letter written by Hindenburg, April, 1917, to Lt.- 
General Groener was displayed in large posters: 

"What Hindenburg thinks of strikes: 'Every interruption of 
work, no matter how insignificant, means an inexcusable weak- 
ening of our strength of resistance and appears to me as an irrec- 




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THE BEGINNING OF THE END 137 

oncilable crime against the army and especially against the 
men in the trenches who must bleed as a result of such inter- 
ruption.' " 

These handbills were circulated and posted on January 29, 
1918. 

Efforts were made to maintain even greater secrecy than ever 
before about the contemplated plans. At all railroad stations, 
in most of the trains, in fact everywhere, signs were displayed 
cautioning the soldiers to be careful in their conversation and 
urging the men working in the factories to avoid telling secrets 
of manufacture, because of the danger of espionage. One such 
sign issued by the railway officials which was widely circulated 
and displayed read as follows: 

"Attention, soldiers! To guard against enemy spies and their 
conspirators who have been discovered to frequent in large num- 
bers our railway stations and trains, the War Ministry forbids all 
military individuals, our wounded men especially, making any 
reference whatsoever regarding troop positions, movements, new 
formations, and other military information of any character, 
especially to strange men and women. Soldiers, be careful of 
your conversation in the presence of others. Do not allow your- 
self to be drawn out into conversation. A careless word may cost 
the lives of many of your comrades. Report to the railway 
authorities any suspicious strangers who seek your company or 
attempt to listen to your conversations. The German soldier 
must not only be able to fight for his Fatherland, but must also 
remain silent for his Fatherland." 

On the other hand, the handbills dropped by the Allied aero- 
planes over German lines, in which information concerning the 
true situation was given, apparently had their effect in dan- 
gerously undermining the German morale, and heavy penalties 
were inflicted for the sending of such handbills to the homeland 
by the troops at the front. Personally, however, I saw any num- 
ber of these handbills in the homes of German families whose 
husbands or sons were at the front, showing that in spite of the 
threatened penalty men were unafraid and did send the dan- 
gerous leaven to the home folks. 

The munition workers were required to subscribe a minimum 
of 200 marks to the war loans, to be paid at the rate of five marks 
weekly, which was deducted from their salary by the munition 



138 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

factory employers. By means of this automatic compulsory 
arrangement the munition factories were able to announce large 
subscriptions to the War Loan funds. Any employe proving 
obstreperous or refusing to subscribe the amount demanded was 
threatened with an order to proceed to the front at once. 

The strain of three and one-half long years of bloody warfare 
was intense and to divert the people's attention from their own 
discouraging condition the big offensive was scheduled. The loss 
of life was unspeakable. In the church which I usually attended 
the names of the parishioners who had fallen in battle during the 
month were read on the last Sunday, and month after month 
the number of these names ranged from eighteen to thirty-six. 
In one of the Sunday school classes of this church the fourteen 
children were asked how many had lost their fathers in the War 
and six raised their little arms in reply. Over 700 parishioners in 
this one church had lost their lives since the beginning of the War. 

The profiteering of food and clothing merchants, the extensive 
abuse of food regulations, which resulted in the hoarding of food, 
and the sale of much of it to the well-to-do, thus depriving the 
poor, all helped to increase the general dissatisfaction which 
prevailed among the people. The elaborate promises made of 
large stores of food which would flow into Germany as a result 
of the Brest-Litovsk peace, commonly referred to as the bread 
peace, had not materialized. Hopes of an increase of food that 
had been roused were rudely shattered. One of the papers gave 
significant and cutting utterance to the general feeling in the 
catch phrase "a bread card in the hand is worth ten carloads of 
wheat en route from the Ukraine." About all that did come 
were onions and fish roe with a disagreeable taste. To encourage 
the purchase of the latter by the public the Government issued 
circulars with recipes for making a palatable sandwich filling 
from the fish roe, but no one wanted it. The call of the Father- 
land for ever-increasing sacrifice was met in a marvelous way, 
although one could not help but overhear the grumbling discon- 
tent of the people at these demands of their Government. Criti- 
cism of the Kaiser was frequently made, attention being called 
to the fact that none of his six sons was actually at the front and 
that none of them had been wounded or killed. These were a few 
of the signs of portentous trouble for the future. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 139 

No one seemed to know just when the blow was to be struck 
or where it was to be made, and as the days, weeks, and even 
months passed expectancy and excitement grew intense. It be- 
came well-nigh unendurable. Rumors of the number of men 
piled up at the various points at the front, of the quantity of 
ammunition held in reserve, and the like, were current. People 
coming from the region of the Rhine reported the billeting of 
large numbers of troops far into Germany east of the Rhine, 
indicating that a tremendous territory was now included in the 
war zone. Tales of new death-dealing war weapons, tremendous 
far-firing cannon, new and more deadly gas shells against the 
use of which the Kaiser was reported to have protested in vain — 
in short, the wildest of predictions followed one another in rapid 
succession, each leaving a new thrill of sensation. One lost sight 
in the prevalent excitement of the diminishing tonnage sunk 
month by month, which in reality predicted the ultimate failure 
of the submarine warfare — or was it because of its failure. that 
attention was being turned to other fields more promising? 
Transfer of troops from the eastern front, where the uncon- 
ditional Brest-Litovsk peace had made the presence of any large 
number of troops unnecessary, was known to have been taking 
place all winter preparatory to the big spring drive of 1918. The 
promise of an early victorious conclusion of the War grew, and 
God knows some such hope was necessary for the rapidly failing 
morale of both the troops and the civilian population. 

The need was emphasized of making the drive before American 
resources could reach the field of battle and change the tide. 
The shrewd publicity thus given by the German press helped to 
bring home to the people the need of immediate action as well as 
of supreme sacrifice and they rallied to the cause, giving all and 
more than they should have given. Some of the more sensible 
and cool-headed men, in spite of the general enthusiasm which 
was artificially aroused, recognized the possibility of defeat and 
the utter hopelessness of the German cause now that America 
had joined the Allies and was beginning to ship troops across the 
seas, apparently unmolested by the German submarines. But 
no one dared give utterance to views of this character. 

Many have attributed the collapse of the German armies to a 
lack of man power. This, no doubt, was an important con- 



140 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

tributing factor, but even more decisive was the growing scarcity 
of raw materials necessary for munition manufacture. I doubt 
if many Americans realize that early in the fall of 1917 the streets 
of Berlin were dug up in order to get the copper telephone mains 
for use in shell production. The Germans discovered some steel 
and aluminum alloy which replaced satisfactorily the copper 
wire ordinarily regarded as indispensable for telephone trans- 
mission. At the same time in southern Germany, where the 
German cutlery industry had its, origin in small private foun- 
dries, one was aware of great activity. Cultivated fields that had 
seemingly existed since time immemorial were being dug up and 
from underneath large quantities of material were being loaded 
on freight cars. On investigation I discovered that the material 
thus being dug represented the old refuse heaps of the small 
cutlery forges. This was being shipped to Essen, where the 
material was chemically treated for extraction of some of the 
rare metals necessary for steel manufacture. 

In all the larger cities the Government requisitioned all brass 
door-knobs, window-locks, and other brass trimmings from private 
houses, heavy penalty being inflicted where people failed to report 
the quantity of such material in their homes. The copper roofing 
and window-sill plating of all buildings, both public and private, 
in Berlin were being removed and replaced by galvanized iron. 
We have all heard of how the church bells were requisitioned in 
order to supplement the rapidly decreasing supply of copper and 
provide adequate quantities for the needs of the munition fac- 
tories. 

Large placards were displayed everywhere, urging the people 
to collect all refuse, which, it was stated, could be utilized by the 
Government. The fast dwindling supplies were rapidly reaching 
a stage where they could no longer provide the devouring guns 
at the front, calling for more and yet more ammunition and shells. 
Pneumatic tires had been largely replaced by substitute metal 
spring tires of short endurance. Germany was rapidly coming 
to the very end of her resources. She must wrest victory at once 
or submit to her overwhelming enemies. She chose a last supreme 
effort to win. 

So it was that the long expected German offensive was launched. 
It came with a ferocity and initial success that was most en- 



THE BEGINNING OP THE END 141 

couraging for the Germans, but decidedly alarming for the Allies. 
The German military machine still seemed wonderfully well or- 
ganized and apparently most efficient. Reports of the "Big 
Bertha" and of the havoc and destruction of innocent life which 
it caused in far-away Paris provoked wonder and speculation. 
The German press played it up as a huge joke on the Allies, for- 
getting its tragic destruction of non-combatant innocents. 

And thus the stage was set for the final battle. Victory or 
defeat would be the decision. It was no wonder that feeling ran 
high. The advance made its impression deep into the lines of the 
Allies. In quick, decisive succession blow after blow was struck 
until Chateau-Thierry had been overrun and Paris seemed within 
grasp. The wedge, aimed to divide the north English front from 
the south French front, had almost penetrated and completed the 
separation of the two armies. For the Allies those were alarming, 
depressing days, full of fear lest Germany should after all achieve 
victory. In America anxiety was keen as one began to fear that 
we had arrived too late. In Germany an "I told you so" attitude 
prevailed among the officers. Never was one's temper as an 
American so tried as then when one had to listen to their tales of 
triumph, told with cynical, cold arrogance. The German people, 
more prejudiced, were none the less enthusiastic, grateful, but 
still anxious of ultimate success. Somehow they were not so sure 
that the glowing reports of the press concerning the victories 
achieved really spelled victory. Armentieres, St. Denis, Arras, 
Montdidier — at will the German army seemed to advance wher- 
ever it desired. The French and British lines were crumbling. 
The press, evidently so instructed, began very quietly and without 
enthusiastic exaggeration its report of progress made. The diffi- 
culties still ahead were emphasized. Over-confidence was scrupu- 
lously avoided. One wonders now whether the authorities had 
any premonition of possible ultimate defeat and therefore re- 
quired this note of conservatism. Invariably the school children 
received holidays when some large- strategic point had been won. 
During the early spring and summer months of 1918 they had 
many such holidays. 

These early victories had a horrible reaction on the prisoners. 
With practically none but German newspapers available and 
with years of depressing imprisonment overshadowing their out- 



142 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

look, they felt that the worst was about to take place, that the 
Germans would win. However great a man's faith in the strength 
of homeland forces, it was difficult to keep up hope during these 
days of the continued advance of the German armies in spite of 
the maximum efforts put forth by the Allied armies. It will not 
be easy to forget the anxiety of those days for all in America. 
How much greater must have been the concern of the prisoners 
of war interned in the enemy country. 

Then the miracle occurred: A halt in the advance, in which 
our own American doughboys played no small part. The Ger- 
mans claimed that the momentary halt had been arranged to 
make possible the transportation of men and supplies such as 
guns, equipment, and munitions to the front from the rear now 
far behind the starting point, asserting that it was impossible to 
advance continuously without bringing up reserve supplies and 
that to do this a temporary pause was necessary; it was merely a 
breathing spell. But in the Allied lines new hope was growing, 
for the halt was not one arranged by the Germans, but was due 
to the unshakable stand of the Allied and American armies. The 
tide was turning and before many days had passed not only had 
the Germans been halted, but the Allies were beginning to ad- 
vance. 

Some months later I was given the following German version 
of the failure of the Germans to continue their advance which 
had seemed so promising in its initial stages. It seems that Prince 
Rupprecht of Bavaria had been in command when the offensive 
was launched. As it progressed successfully, Ludendorff, who was 
anxious for all possible glory to come to the Crown Prince, switched 
the command of the advancing armies and placed the Crown 
Prince and his staff in charge. The delay caused by the readjust- 
ment that this demanded destroyed the advantage of the ad- 
vancing armies and helped to turn the tide of the battle, which 
concluded in the ultimate defeat of Germany. One wonders how 
much truth there is in this statement. Possibly. Ludendorff 's 
memoirs will throw some light on the situation; but whatever 
may be said it will remain an historical fact that the splendid 
stand of the Allied forces in the face of seeming defeat saved 
the day and thus rescued the world from the threatened oppres- 
sion of Prussian militarism. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 143 

In Germany, as the tide began to turn, universal disillusionment 
resulted. Then came the revelations of Lichnowsky, former Ger- 
man Ambassador to England, which gave the people evidence 
that Germany was the chief culprit in the initiation of the Great 
War. The Government tried to undo the harm occasioned by 
these revelations, but in vain. The failure of the submarine 
warfare was also apparent, for month by month the amount of 
tonnage destroyed had decreased by extraordinary and unex- 
pected degrees, while on the other hand, the amount of tonnage 
being constructed in Allied dockyards was rapidly overcoming the 
losses of the previous months due to the submarines; and added 
to all these discouraging signs of the times were the increasingly 
serious food conditions. The health of the civilians in the large 
cities was being undermined most dangerously. The community 
kitchens which had been organized a year or so before were now 
feeding 100,000 to 250,000 people in the city of Berlin alone. 
The death rate due to malnutrition and the resultant intestinal 
diseases was overwhelming and disastrous. 

The Allies continued to counter-attack and, slowly at first 
but none the less surely, began their advance, pushing back step 
by step the German armies, which were beginning to show signs 
of demoralization. The agitation of the Majority Socialists and 
the Independent Socialists at home, and the propaganda circulated 
by them among the army, exerted a telling effect. Danger of an 
approaching invasion of the Fatherland by the Allies seemed 
imminent and created a state of chaos not only in the German 
army, but especially among the German people at home. The 
hopelessness of the German cause gradually became apparent, 
and very soon there was an insistent demand for peace. It was 
argued, "Why sacrifice more lives in this war which has already 
cost so many, for a cause which is now hopelessly lost?" The 
Social Democrats and Independent Socialists took up this as yet 
unvoiced desire of the German people and became the opposition 
party in the Government. We know the fate of Hertling, the 
Third Chancellor of War, and of his successor, Prince Max of 
Baden. The braggadocio of the German officers who had been 
most loud in their prophecies regarding the defeat of the Allies 
had now changed to a subdued, anxious attitude. In the National 
Assembly long debates and heated discussions regarding a more 



144 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

liberal form of government were constant. At Easter time, 1917, 
the so-called Emperor's message had been proclaimed in which 
he promised the German people a far more liberal form of suffrage, 
granting the right of vote on an equal, uniform basis to all men 
of age. The Government, however, largely due to the Herren- 
Haus (House of Lords) had opposed the ratification of this pro- 
posal, with the result that the Socialistic Party which was most 
in favor of this liberal form accused the Emperor and the Gov- 
ernment of not keeping faith. Thus conditions continued through- 
out the summer, becoming more and more alarming and resulting 
in the ultimate overthrow of the Government at the time of the 
German Revolution, about which more will be said later. 




Taps. Burial of American Prisoners of War, Rastatt 




Americans Attending Sunday Morning Church Service, Rastatt 



CHAPTER XV 
VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 

During January and February, 1918, regulations pertaining to 
enemy aliens were greatly intensified and they were kept under 
closer surveillance than ever. No doubt this was part of the 
program in preparation for the big drive. My American passport 
had expired early in January, and because of the long delays in 
securing proper sanction for the issuance of another passport 
there were several weeks when I had no valid citizenship papers. 
These were weeks of tremendous suspense for me, for I feared a 
request of the Germans to show my papers, which would have 
meant my immediate internment or even forced conscription into 
the German service as an individual without citizenship. For- 
tunately, my passport arrived before such an investigation oc- 
curred. It was during these months, furthermore, that the 
Germans requested all enemy aliens to surrender their passports. 
I had heard of the order a week or two before it was issued, and 
immediately requested the Spanish Embassy to keep in deposit 
my American passport and to issue to me a substitute certificate 
of identification. This was done, so that when the Germans 
asked for my passport I was able to give them the substitute and 
retain the original. In exchange one received a certificate known 
as a "Personal Ausweis," which answered all the purposes of a 
passport with the German authorities. I assume that this demand 
for enemy passports was an attempt to control spies more closely. 

In February, 1918, I was summoned to the War Prisoners 
Department of the War Ministry and told that our work would 
have to cease and that I must leave the country within four 
weeks; similarly, that they objected to a continuance of our work 
among the German prisoners in England and France. The reason 
advanced for this sudden and drastic measure was the argument 
that our neutral secretaries in France and England were carrying 
on Americanization propaganda among the German prisoners with 
whom they worked, and were doing so under the cloak of the 
YMCA. Naturally I firmly denied such propaganda, which 

145 



146 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

was contrary to our written agreements with the respective gov- 
ernments, but in vain. 

In the hope of delaying decision on our withdrawal, I imme- 
diately wired our headquarters in Switzerland requesting definite 
information. Letters were received from England and France 
petitioning the German Government, on behalf of German pris- 
oners in those countries, to permit the continuance of our work, 
German prisoners themselves having signed these petitions. 

By this time a considerable number of American prisoners of 
war had been taken, the first group of thirty-nine having been 
captured in November, 1917. Fearing that the demands of the 
Germans for complete cessation of our work were likely to ma- 
terialize, I made one last effort to secure the much-coveted per- 
mission to visit the American prisoners. Largely for the sake of 
anticipated service to them I had remained on in Germany, and 
now it seemed that these hopes were to be frustrated. My peti- 
tion requested that, in case the decision with reference to my 
departure was final, I be permitted to visit our American pris- 
oners at least once before I withdrew from the country; I con- 
tended that on my re urn to the States I would undoubtedly be 
questioned concerning the treatment and condition of the Amer- 
ican prisoners of war. 

The German authorities evidently recognized that refusal to 
grant this privilege would imply that conditions were so bad that 
they did not wish an American to see them, for they consented to 
my making one visit to each of the camps where American pris- 
oners of war were interned. Such camps were Brandenburg, 
where merchant marines were located, Tuchel, Darmstadt, and 
Giessen with American privates, and Villingen and Karlsruhe 
with American officers. In addition there were many camps 
which each contained a few Americans, whereas the camps named 
had ten to fifty and more. My itinerary was arranged by the 
War Ministry; throughout I was to be accompanied by an officer 
from the War Ministry, the head of the War Prisoners Depart- 
ment declaring this was done to avoid the possibility of insult to 
me by any of the German camp commandants, which was likely 
if I as an American visited the camps alone. No doubt there was 
considerable truth in this reasoning, for many an officer was 
intensely bitter toward America. 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 147 

Ever since the news of the capture of Americans in November, 
1917, we had made every effort possible to be of service to them. 
As soon as camp addresses were ascertained, we wired our Copen- 
hagen office to send emergency food and equipment parcels to 
each individual. Books, phonographs and records, athletic sup- 
plies, and writing material were forwarded directly from our 
Berlin office or from the offices in Berne and Copenhagen. Data 
concerning the men were telegraphed to Berne, with the request 
that the American Red Cross be informed so as to arrange for 
regular parcel shipments. 

As time went on we perfected arrangements with the statistical 
bureau on war prisoners of the War Ministry, whereby we were 
given copies of the lists of newly captured men as quickly as 
possible. These were wired and dispatched by special delivery 
to Berne. It was thus possible to get these data to our American 
headquarters far more quickly than through the regular official 
channels. Every day saved in this manner meant that much less 
anxiety for the loved ones at home, and, even more important, 
just that much earlier relief to the prisoners. 

Requests were next made in the form of a recommendation to 
the authorities that so far as possible all American prisoners of 
war be concentrated in one camp. Our experience had demon- 
strated that such concentration would greatly facilitate all relief 
work on their behalf. Correspondence, organization of our 
Y M C A activities, and other matters could be more efficiently 
and expeditiously controlled. To this request the Germans 
assented, but, for some reason hitherto unsolved, Tuchel, one of 
the inferior camps of the country and situated in a dismal terri- 
tory where climatic conditions in winter were most severe, was 
chosen as the camp of concentration. 

We had had extensive correspondence with the American pris- 
oners in the various camps, so that the Y M C A and myself 
were known to the boys. Needless to say, I notified all of my 
good fortune in getting permission to visit them and informed 
them of the date of my coming. Never shall I forget these visits. 
Accompanied by an officer from the War Ministry, we proceeded 
first to Brandenburg, then to Darmstadt, Villingen, and Tuchel 
in the order named. 

Following are extracts from letters, which I wrote at the time 



148 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

of these visits to the American prisoners of war in the various 
camps, in accordance with the War Ministry's permission referred 
to above: 

June 8, 1918. 

"It was on Thursday of this week that I had the rare privilege 
of visiting one of the camps (Brandenburg) with American boys. 
All told, there are thirty-one Americans attached to the camp, 
of whom but eleven were in the camp proper, the others being 
out on various working commandos. All were men who were 
captured on ships taken by the Germans, either by the raider 
Sea-Gull or by U-boats. The men I saw were a good lot, but I 
must frankly confess, a pitiful group; they seemed so utterly alone 
and lost. Ship Officer Delaney, a former member of the Brooklyn 
Navy Association, is chairman of the American Relief Committee 
which they have organized. He is a good sort and a man who 
can be depended upon. Nagel, the moving spirit of the crowd, 
has had hard luck. The ship on which he was trying to get to 
America from England as a stowaway was captured by the Ger- 
mans. He has made two attempts to escape, the last time getting 
as far as Dusseldorf on the Rhine. At present he is suffering from 
asthma or catarrh, but after his recovery he is confronted with 
six months' punishment in solitary confinement as a penalty for 
his attempted escapes. He considered that rather heavy punish- 
ment. Johnson, a ship officer of Scandinavian descent, wondered 
why our Government had no treaty with the Germans relative to 
the treatment of American officers who became prisoners of war. 
He was under the impression that he should be interned in an 
officers' camp. Parker is a youngster eighteen years old, and 
another prisoner, Perkins, hails from Wichita, Kansas. 

"Relative to the food parcels received through the American 
Red Cross, Delaney raised the question if there could not be 
more variety in their contents, to include perhaps dried vege- 
tables in place of some of the corned beef, from which the fellows 
were getting boils. The demand for candy was unanimous. All 
stated that the parcels were coming regularly and in sufficient 
quantity. I was surprised to learn that mail from America 
reached the men usually in four to five weeks, now that it is being 
sent via France. The boys stated that mail sent via England 
usually took two months and more to reach them. 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 149 

"Nagel has given a few vaudeville shows and has initiated a 
number of games of baseball, using homemade bats and gloves 
and balls. As yet no school work has been begun,but I was asked 
to supply English-French, English-German, and English-Spanish 
grammars. Church services are conducted by the British in the 
camp, but our American friends fight shy of them. I was per- 
mitted to take a number of photographs of the men, which I hope 
will turn out well as I should like to send copies to their relatives. 

"On the basis of my visit and all I have heard, I would urge that 
our Government arrange for a conference between representatives 
of America and Germany to be held in some neutral country and 
negotiate some treaty pertaining to the treatment of the pris- 
oners in both countries. My thought is that this conference 
should be similar to the one that has taken place between France 
and Germany and that is about to take place between England 
and Germany. There are many matters that should receive im- 
mediate attention and that should not be postponed until the 
number of prisoners has increased. Preparedness has been a 
favorite slogan of ours. Let it be so in these prisoner-of-war 
matters, and thereby prevent much unnecessary suffering on the 
part of the prisoners. Would it not be well for you to make some 
such proposal to our Government? 

"My visit has filled me with a burning desire to remain and to 
continue such service on behalf of my countrymen. It has made 
me realize what I have missed in the sixteen months during which 
I have been deprived of the privilege of camp visitation. No 
sacrifice would be too great to make for the privilege of working 
for the American prisoners in such a personal way." 

July 8, 1918. 
"In company with an officer from the War Ministry we pro- 
ceeded to Darmstadt where, according to the latest reports we 
had had, there should have been one hundred or more Americans. 
Unfortunately the larger number had been deported to another 
camp the morning of our arrival, to my keen disappointment. 
Only thirty-seven prisoners were left in the camp. These are 
attached to a commando belonging to the parent camp Giessen, 
but are working in an aeroplane school in this camp, a queer 
mix-up when it comes to addressing them. By happy coinci- 



150 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

dence I happened to be there on the Fourth of July. The men 
were a rather motley crowd, among them a Pole and a Hun- 
garian, who had received their first American citizenship papers 
just before they were recruited or drafted into service. This was 
a fact greatly enlarged upon by the camp authorities, as you can 
readily surmise. Most of these men had been captured April 
20th, but up to date had received no food parcels from the Red 
Cross. I immediately wired to Copenhagen to send thirty first- 
aid parcels. The men are sadly in need of uniforms, underwear, 
and shoes or boots. Apparently all is taken from them when 
they are captured. Most of them had wooden clogs, some had 
French uniform coats, one had a black cutaway — and they pres- 
ented a sorry sight, to say the least. Owing to general scarcity 
it is needless to say that the beds are without linen of any kind. 
Dirty straw sacks are used for mattresses and still dirtier blankets 
for cover. Darmstadt is no longer the camp it was in 1915 when 
I first saw it. 

"The men were absolutely without any money, so I left 500 
marks with them, enabling each man to receive ten marks and 
still leave a small emergency fund. From Berlin I am sending 
them books, grammars for language study, games, mandolin, and 
guitar, and have ordered from Copenhagen adequate athletic 
equipment. The camp itself, as you perhaps will recall, was one 
of the best in the country. I spoke with the men about the neces- 
sity of staying clean for the sake of our flag, and that particular 
'Someone' back there at home, and received most hearty response. 

"After taking a number of photographs we were escorted to the 
hospital attached to the camp, where there were six invalid 
Americans. Three of these were in quarantine, so that I could 
not visit them. I have sent them some books and games and 
have ordered food parcels for them by telegram. Jerry Brown 
(wife Mrs. J. A. Brown, address . . .) is seriously ill with in- 
flammation of the lungs and I fear for his life. In addition he is 
a complete nervous wreck. He was also badly infected with lice, 
which were causing him much worry and discomfort. The doctor 
said he could not treat him for these, owing to ( his high fever and 
severe illness. Brown just poured out his heart to me, making 
frank confession of his sins and of his sincere endeavors to find 
God. Those were sacred moments there at his bedside. God 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 151 

grant him recovery, bodily as well as spiritually. I wish you 
would write to his wife. Eugene Milewsky, another American, 
was also laid up with inflammation of the lungs, but was most 
cheerful and hopeful. He wore the smile that won't come off 
and begged me to send him some soap, a shirt and underwear, as 
well as a pair of boots, complaining that the pair of clogs he had 
been wearing had rubbed his feet sore and bloody. I ordered 
these at once from Denmark. Will you please write to his folks? 
(His mother is Mrs. A. Milewsky, address . . . ). Nelson Waters 
of Company D, Regiment 102 (mother's address . . . ), had just 
gotten out of bed after a severe attack of tonsilitis. No doubt he 
will leave the hospital in a few days. He was captured on April 
20th and had received no parcel as yet. He, too, wanted a pair 
of boots, which I have ordered. I forgot to mention the fact that 
the men in the camp wanted laundry soap and some scrub brushes 
to wash their clothing. These have been ordered from our office 
in Copenhagen, but are a suggestion for the American Red Cross, 
which should include such in their parcels in the future. 

"Needless to say, I was loath to leave the camp and much pre- 
ferred to remain. How thankful I am that I was privileged to 
visit them! I left with the prayer that some way might be found 
to enable me to remain here for this all-important service to my 
countrymen. 

"From Darmstadt we left for Villingen in the Black Forest, 
where the American officers are interned. We visited the camp 
on July 5th, and were most cordially received by the commandant, 
a lieutenant-colonel who knows America, having spent many years 
there. He impressed me as sympathetic and I feel at ease so far 
as his treatment of our men is concerned. The camp is a small 
one with but 120 officers, all Russians with the exception of thirty- 
odd American officers interned there. They are largely officers of 
the Medical Reserve Corps, a number of merchant marine officers, 
a few infantry officers, and an aviator, Harold Willis, in French 
service, as was evident from his French uniform. If you will con- 
sult the last official lists I sent you will find him reported as being 
in Bad Steur. Kindly give notice to those in authority of the 
change of address. Hardesty is the senior among the Americans. 
Before leaving the camp I was promised a complete list of all the 
American officers with their regimental and home addresses. The 



152 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

camp has a theater with cinema, tennis grounds which can be 
used for football, a reading room and library, gardens, some six 
small music rooms where individual men can practice, shower 
baths and bathtubs, a barber shop, and a dentist office. The 
Americans are all living together in one large barrack. The 
commandant spoke most highly of the spirit of the men and the 
officer from the War Ministry who accompanied me remarked 
when we left the camp that they were a 'fine lot.' 

"The canteen had considerable variety to offer. What sur- 
prised and pleased me especially was the large assortment of 
fresh vegetables offered for sale. I only wish we could get as 
good a variety in Berlin. 

"Now as to the wishes and requests of the men: Some bacon or 
fat in place of part of the meat usually sent in Red Cross parcels; 
if possible, some tea, Quaker Oats, and a washrag or two for each 
officer. Most important, regular notice of the standing of the 
American Baseball Leagues. If you can arrange to get this, I 
am sure all the Americans would be glad to have it. If my sugges- 
tion regarding a continental issue of Association Men for distri- 
bution in the prison camps is carried out these baseball scores 
should by all means be included. I am sending the men French, 
Spanish, and German grammars. Can you provide a good 
English-French, French-English dictionary — some good standard 
work? We are sending a phonograph with an elite selection of 
records. Athletic equipment has already been ordered. 

"Special facts to be borne in mind are the following: First, the 
status of the merchant marine officers. It seems that as long as 
they are able to pay the necessary fifty-two marks a month for 
board and keep they are permitted to remain in the officers' 
camp and are regarded as officers. If unable to pay this amount 
they are sent to the privates' camps. Infantry officers are re- 
ceiving as their monthly stipendium only sixty marks, of which 
fifty-two marks must be paid to the camp authorities for board. 
The remainder is entirely inadequate for incidental expenses. 
The commandant stated that as yet no treaty exists between 
Germany and America regarding this matter and that the Ger- 
man authorities are paying the Americans sixty marks, which is 
the amount paid to officers of the same rank of other nationalities. 
The American officers questioned if our Government could not 




Types op Prisoners op War 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 153 

arrange for a„ higher stipendium. Can you send some simple 
French literature suitable for those who are studying the lan- 
guage? A request was made for a good European history in 
English. I have made arrangements with His Royal Highness, 
Prince Max of Baden, to draw scientific books from the Heidel- 
berg library for the Americans at Villingen. 

"In conversation with the German official from the War Min- 
istry who accompanied me I expressed the desire for a regular 
permit to visit our American men and he urged me to appeal to 
General Friedrichs, saying that such a possibility existed. This 
gives me new hope and I shall confer with the General just as 
soon as he returns from the Hague. I understand that a con- 
ference is being considered to take place between our Government 
and the German Government regarding prisoner-of-war matters. 
If this be true, may I make the following recommendations for 
consideration at this conference: 

"1. That the names of newly captured Americans be reported 
more quickly than has been the case up to date. 

"2. That some arrangement be made possible whereby the 
American Red Cross or our organization can send parcels to {he 
men while still in the occupied territory behind the lines. The 
men are often six to eight weeks there before they are transferred 
to camps in Germany. Camp Limburg could be used as a 
distributing center for the men behind the lines. 

"3. That the American prisoners so far as practicable be in- 
terned in one camp, in accordance with the written agreement to 
that effect which I secured from the War Ministry, copy enclosed. 
At present the Americans are scattered about in at least a dozen 
different camps. 

"4. That they be not compelled to work in any direct war in- 
dustry. 

"5. That the chairmen of the American camp relief commit- 
tees be permitted to correspond with relief agencies without 
having such correspondence deducted from their allotted monthly 
quota. 

"6. That permission be granted the American officers to take 
strolls in the country surrounding the camps, similar to the per- 
mission granted the officers among the prisoners of other na- 
tionalities. 

"7. That the monthly stipendium paid the American officers be 
increased sufficiently to allow funds for incidental expenses. 

"8. In case I am unable to secure permission for regular camp 



154 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

visitation before the conference that you then endeavor to secure 
such permission officially. I consider it absolutely essential that 
some American man visit our men regularly. I should be glad 
to do so if those in authority are prepared to accept me for such a 
task. 

"9. Absolute abolishment of all reprisal measures in the treat- 
ment of the prisoners of war in the two countries concerned. 

"10. Permission for our prisoners to retain all clothing, under- 
wear, and boots which they possess at time of capture. Any 
other procedure is highway robbery. It seems that immediately 
after capture most of their clothing, and in several instances 
private possessions, such as money and gold watches, have been 
confiscated by the Germans, promise being given that they would 
receive these on arrival in the prison camps. Up to date there 
has been no return of such confiscated clothing." 

July 22, 1918. 

"If a lonesome and homesick American living at present in 
Germany were in need of a bracing tonic I would recommend to 
him a visit to the American prisoners of war in Camp Tuchel 
in West Prussia. I was there on Friday last, July 19th, and have 
felt a different man ever since. There was a certain refreshing, 
cheery spirit, a fullness of life, and a jolly good fellowship which 
did my heart good. The men displayed a truly splendid spirit in 
spite of their environment, which left much to be desired. 

"Accompanied by a captain as representative of the local War 
Ministry, I was met at the railway station by the official camp 
carriage in which we were driven to the camp, some two kilo- 
meters out of town. On arrival there we were greeted by the 
interpreter who had been assigned to accompany us on our tour 
in the camp. With him we went first to the camp hospital, where 
I met two American doctors— Dr. Steele Abbott and Dr. Joseph 
Burke by name. For some reason they had been transferred from 
the American officers' camp at Villingen to Tuchel, apparently to 
give medical attention to the American privates of the camp. 
It seems that my request for concentration of the American pris- 
oners in one camp has been granted and that Tuchel has been 
picked out as the concentration camp. At the time of my visit 
there were eight Americans in the hospital. No serious cases were 
among them, however, all being cases of cold and influenza which 
is running its course through Germany. 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 155 

"The doctors had no complaint relative to treatment, but 
wondered why they had been singled out for this service and 
whether it would interfere with their possible exchange as soon 
as agreements relative to exchange of prisoners had been reached 
between the two countries involved. They are anxious to have a 
private room, if possible, their present one being only partly 
private, as Russians and others pass through it constantly. They 
spoke also of the possibility of securing a cook stove, but re- 
marked that this was doubtless out of the question in view of 
fuel shortage. A stove would better enable them to prepare the 
supplies they receive from the American Red Cross. I have 
therefore put in an order for one. In addition to French and 
German grammars which we are sending from Berlin they would 
like to receive the following medical books: Handbook of Sur- 
gery, and Practice of Medicine; some good medical compendium 
in English. I wonder if you are able to secure these and could 
send them directly to the doctors. How about spec al parcels 
for the doctors, for which they are prepared to pay either directly 
or through ther American banks? They would like condensed 
milk, ham, cheese, and sugar in these additional parcels. 

"After a cup of tea and real Uneeda biscuits prepared and 
served by their orderly, Private Grimsley, a smiling, good-natured 
giant from Salina, Kansas, we visited the American invalids of 
the hospital. They were all in good spirits and apparently had 
been doing a lot of reading, judging by the appearance of the 
volumes in the Tauchnitz edition which we had sent them some 
weeks previously. They wanted more reading matter. Could 
we not send them some up-to-date American novels? They had 
received a copy of one of Rex Beach's books which resulted in a 
veritable scramble, for it had the homeland fragrance. 

"From here we went to the camp proper where we were greeted 
by the commandant and his adjutant, both of whom accompanied 
us on our tour of the camp. Tuchel is very much like every other 
camp in Germany: Entry gate, long broad avenue separating the 
camp into two large compounds and lined on either side with the 
administration buildings, post office, quarters for the guard, 
kitchens, storeroom, canteens. The barrack section of the camp, 
however, presented an unusual appearance. Instead of the regu- 
lation barracks one had here a type of underground dugout. 



156 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

They look very much like the trenches in which it is customary 
in this country to store potatoes and other root crops for the 
winter, rather than the abode of hundreds if not thousands of 
human beings. My officer companion was as much surprised as 
I was and said little. The interpreter, a recently returned civilian 
prisoner from the Isle of Man, and a man fully appreciative of 
the hard lot of the prisoners and therefore most sympathetic, re- 
lated how in winter the water constantly runs in the barracks 
making them most unhealthy. It was evident that he did not 
approve of the quarters. 

"Naturally, as we wandered through these dugouts to the 
one where I realized my countrymen were housed I was deeply 
concerned; but this fit of depression disappeared like magic as I 
was presented to our men, some forty-odd. There was real life 
and enthusiasm and I must confess I was greatly pleased to see 
how thoroughly happy the fellows were to see me. Such hand- 
shaking, such rapid exchange of ideas! It was great. Time went 
altogether too quickly. I had to shake hands with each and 
every one of the forty-odd men. Then came an avalanche of 
questions concerning conditions in America and news of the 
battle front. Corporal Frank Upton, a former New York police- 
man to whom we had sent a mandolin and a guitar, appeared with 
both and with another companion began to play, boasting that 
he had learned to play since becoming a prisoner of war. The 
modest request was made for another mandolin and guitar. I 
had to see the two by four room which served as special quarters 
for the three sergeants. Then came tales of experiences, of how 
they cooked, how they had distributed our Y M C A emergency 
parcels to the new arrivals, how they had served their comrades 
on commando, etc., etc. Then a number of photographs were 
taken. It was really fine and a taste of home for me. Requests 
included Nietzsche's works in English. This is in addition to the 
books desired, about which I wrote you on Saturday. My other 
letter also gave requests for shaving brushes, phonograph records, 
and other articles. 

"Tomorrow the War Ministry is to give me word as to whether 
the Americans can be transferred to a more favorable camp. I 
trust Rastatt in Baden, which has been proposed as new head- 
quarters, may be chosen. 



VISITING THE FIRST AMERICAN PRISONERS 157 

"There seems to be considerable confusion and inaccuracy in 
the prisoner-of-war records reported through the Statistical Bureau 
of the War Ministry. Thus I recently received a list of American 
prisoners of war just captured whose addresses were camps in 
Bavaria. I immediately telegraphed our secretary there to visit 
them, but on inquiry he was told that there were no Americans in 
the camps indicated and that there never had been any. In 
addition, I am still unable to locate over 200 of our countrymen 
who have been reported to us as prisoners of war in the official 
lists. I have appealed to the authorities for improvement of this 
service. As you know, by an arrangement made with them I am 
able to secure the lists of new captures immediately. These I 
have been sending to you for report to America and for reference 
to the American Red Cross, in order to enable them to know 
where food parcels are to be shipped. 

"The men at Tuchel remarked that so far as treatment is con- 
cerned they had no complaint, but that when it came to quarters, 
the less said the better. They did complain, however, of the hard 
work they had to do. Early mornings they had a many-mile 
hike through the snow and bitter cold into the forests, where 
they chopped wood all day. This they hauled back on huge 
wagons or sleds for use as fuel in the camp. I wish they did not 
have to do this work. 

"Unfortunately, my time with them was altogether too short 
and I had to leave just as we were getting well acquainted. I was 
the richer, among other things, by a package of Uneeda biscuits 
and a tin of corned beef, but above all by a feeling of gratitude 
and pride that our men are such a fine lot. 

"I have just had word that a larger number of our men are in 
Lamsdorff, a town near the Polish boundary. A telegraphic in- 
quiry brought me a reply this morning that Sergeant Irving 
Dresser is chairman of the committee in the camp there. You 
will probably want to write him. I have sent books and games 
there from here and have ordered emergency parcels from Copen- 
hagen by telegraph. I hope to visit the men there soon. 

"May I make a further suggestion for the coming conference 
between American and German officials on prisoner-of-war mat- 
ters? Permission to go out on strolls should be secured for the 
American privates such as is now granted the officers, and since 



158 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the last negotiations has also been permitted to French and 
British privates." 

Additional supplies were sent to the men upon my return to 
Berlin, in accordance with their requests. More books, a phono- 
graph and English records, musical instruments, pens and ink, 
pencils, paper, notebooks, and, most important of all, baseball 
equipment, were included in these shipments. 



CHAPTER XVI 
CAPTURED DOUGHBOYS ALL IN CAMP RASTATT 

Largely as a result of the information given me by the inter- 
preter during my visit to Camp Tuchel, I was resolved to make 
an effort to secure the transfer of our men to more congenial 
surroundings. The German War Ministry official who had ac- 
companied me had apparently seen no German prison camp 
previously; it was evident that he was more or less ashamed of 
the conditions in which the men were living. On our return trip 
to Berlin conversation revealed that he would personally back up 
any petition, protest, or request that I might make to the War 
Ministry for better housing facilities for our men. 

Thus encouraged and determined, I conferred personally with 
the proper officials and then submitted a written request that 
our men be transferred. Early in August the transfer of the men 
to Rastatt, Baden, began; from that time on this camp became 
headquarters camp for American prisoners of war. The smaller 
groups that had been scattered in numerous remote camps were 
all gradually concentrated at Rastatt, where before the end of 
the war some 2,600 doughboys were interned. 

Requests were made that the men be sent to the camps as 
quickly as possible after their capture at the front, that better 
statistical service be given with reference to data of newly cap- 
tured men, and above all that no plundering of the men occur 
behind the lines. 

In the meantime our neutral headquarters had been busy and 
word was sent to the German War Ministry that our forced with- 
drawal would hurt the German cause tremendously in the eyes of 
the entire world, as soon as their demand for cessation of our 
work became known; and Germany could not afford to lose any 
further moral prestige, for she had little enough. This apparently 
presented a new angle of the situation to the Germans, the con- 
sequences of which had never entered their calculations. It no 
doubt accounted for the continued delay on their part in reaching 

159 



160 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

a final decision, so that we continued our work throughout the 
summer of 1918, although we had originally been asked to with- 
draw in February. 

Our staff during this period consisted of four Danes, two Nor- 
wegians, three Swiss, and three Swedes; with myself, an American, 
ours was a most cosmopolitan staff of workers. On the other 
hand, we, the representatives of five nationalities, were working 
on behalf of twenty-nine different nationalities represented among 
the prisoners of war. 

The following letter describes some of my experiences at Camp 
Rastatt: 

September 5, 1918. 

"While at Rastatt on September 3rd I wired you as follows: 
'Send immediately care of American Help Committee Ukrainian 
Camp Rastatt three weeks' rations for 1,000 men. Clothing, 
equipment, such as shoes, underwear, uniforms, imperatively 
necessary.' I sineerely pray that you have received this telegram 
and have made immediate arrangements for the shipment in 
question. The need of it is most urgent, of which more later. 

"I have just had two most splendid days in the camp with the 
800 or more of my fellow-countrymen there. These two days have 
fully repaid for the waiting and possible sacrifices of the past 
eighteen months. Mine has been a most enviable privilege. On 
Monday I met with the two committees which were organized 
upon our recommendation, namely an American relief committee 
and a Y M C A cabinet. The latter consists of the chairman of 
the Y M C A and the chairmen of the religious work, athletic 
sports, band, theatrical, personal visitation, kitchen, and com- 
mando extension committees. Plans for a Y M C A hut and an 
adequate athletic field as well as for proper equipment for a 
kitchen were discussed. Wright is no longer president of the 
relief committee, but has been succeeded by Sergeant Halyburton, 
the ranking American in the camp. Temporarily this change 
caused some friction, but Wright played the man and fully realized 
that the new candidate was better qualified to handle the difficult 
position of president. Owing to the fact that Wright was a private 
he had difficulty in maintaining discipline, whereas Halyburton is 
past master in this matter. 

"I was taken to the camp immediately upon my arrival in town 








Types of Prisoners of War 



CAPTURED DOUGHBOYS ALL IN CAMP RASTATT 161 

and was left entirely alone with our men until seven p. m., when 
I was again called for. Tuesday morning I again went to the 
camp and remained there the entire day absolutely free with our 
countrymen. We opened up on Tuesday with a big Y M C A 
meeting. I had secured permission for the Americans in the four 
compounds of the- camp to be brought together for this occasion. 
Ordinarily the Americans from the respective compounds are not 
permitted to mingle except by a very special permit. I wish you 
could have been present at the meeting. Sergeant Halyburton 
took charge and lined up the men in the form of a large quad- 
rangle two deep. In the center a table and one or two stools had 
been provided for Sergeant Halyburton, the president of the 
Y M C A, and myself. Corporal Upton, leader of the Catholic 
group, stated afterward that every single Catholic was in attend- 
ance at the meeting and gave the further good recommendation 
that now here in prison all denominational differences and an- 
tagonisms must cease and that all Americans to a man must stick 
together as one, not only in patriotic matters, but also in religious 
matters. Over 600 men were present. You can imagine the thrill 
that went through me as I faced this group with the privilege of 
talking to them as men. My topic was 'Manhood personified in 
the Master, body, mind, soul, and fellowship' — avoidance of stag- 
nation and encouragement of growth in all four respects. We 
closed the meeting by all joining in the Lord's Prayer, I wish 
the American friends of these men could have heard that prayer. 

"Announcements were then made, the men being urged to hurry 
through their dinner and to reassemble for a stunt program early 
in the afternoon. This began at twelve-thirty and continued until 
two-thirty, during which time the men laughed until their sides 
ached. Even the German guard who had gathered outside the 
barbed wire seemed thoroughly to enjoy the feats that were pulled 
off. These included a forty-inch dash, cracker whistling stunt, 
Indian club relay race, and ball relay race, in each of which some 
eighty men took part. We wound up the meeting with a song 
service, rendered by a quartet got together on the spur of the 
moment. 

"I then gave the remainder of the afternoon till after five- 
thirty to personal interviews, with the schedule in charge of 
Sergeant Dresser, President of the Y M C A. I had a continuous 



162 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

stream of interviews at the rate of one every three or five minutes. 
In these I met Y M C A men, students — among them a graduate 
of Columbia — men with whom I had corresponded, and many- 
others. Money matters, greetings home, and personal problems 
all came up in these interviews. Then I had supper with a group 
of men — really and truly Boston baked beans, sweet corn fritters, 
green peas, and rice pudding! The time for my departure came 
all too soon and I was loath to leave when the German interpreter 
of the camp came to call for me. They were two wonderful days 
and throughout I was left entirely alone in the camp to mingle 
freely with our men. 

"Now a word as to my telegram. Up to date the men, even 
those captured as far back as April, have received no clothing 
whatsoever. Several were running around in underdrawers or 
pajamas which we had furnished, because their only trousers were 
being washed. One or two had no trousers at all. Shoe equip- 
ment was even worse, and the committee is compelled to 'drum 
up' from the men left in the camp full clothing equipment as best 
it can for the men who leave daily in small squads for near-by 
working commandos. You can appreciate that under these cir- 
cumstances I cannot urge too strongly that the clothing outfits 
be shipped by the quickest method possible. Many of the men in 
the convalescent ward and in the hospital were without pajamas. 
I had sent some sixty sets from those which Mrs. Morris, wife 
of our Minister to Sweden, had so kindly placed at our disposal. 
These had proved most welcome. 

"During the afternoon of Tuesday eighteen new men arrived 
from the front; some of them captured as late as August 10th. I 
am sending you with this a list of their names which I received 
at the time. Their one complaint was that they were hungry, 
and after they had run the gauntlet in the Entlausungsanstalt, 
where they were thoroughly disinfected, we hurried the kitchen 
men to get them their supper, and a mighty good supper they 
received. Thus new men from the front, all recent captures, will 
continue to come, but the relief committee is badly handicapped 
in taking care of them because of the lack of food and clothing 
supplies. Practically none of the men have up to date received 
any personal parcels. With Rastatt as central camp, personally 
addressed parcels from the Red Cross will no longer be necessary, 



CAPTURED DOUGHBOYS ALL IN CAMP RASTATT 163 

but I would urge that the Red Cross send individual parcels rather 
than bulk shipments to the committee. A hundred or more indi- 
vidual parcels could be packed up in large cases so that the com- 
mittee could then distribute the individual parcels to the men 
without, sorting them out. The supplies from the Red Cross 
which arrived at Rastatt are well-nigh exhausted. Hence my 
urgent telegram that at least three weeks' rations for 1,000 men 
be sent immediately. I have given the relief committee 6,000 
marks to distribute, at a rate not to exceed ten marks per man, 
to the incoming prisoners for purchase of paper and minor inci- 
dentals. 

"In the course of my personal interviews I received numerous 
requests for safety razors. May I ask whether the Red Cross is 
going to furnish these? You recall that the emergency parcels 
which we send new prisoners from our Copenhagen office contain 
safety razors. All men who had received our Y M C A parcels in 
the various camps where I have been speak most highly of the 
well chosen and excellent contents. With the help of our neutral 
secretary in this territory we have already secured a large cooking 
range, which is to be set up in a special camp kitchen, which we 
are to build just as soon as we can get lumber. This kitchen will 
be in charge of the Y M C A committee, and there men can have 
prepared for them the supplies which come in the Red Cross 
parcels. The authorities have given us ground for the erection 
of a Y M C A building, but we are having tremendous difficulties 
in getting the necessary lumber. I am hopeful that we can break 
ground in the course of two weeks. 

"Herewith are a number of recommendations and suggestions, 
some of which should without fail be taken up at the pending 
conference between representatives of the two governments: 

"1. In view of the abuses associated with employment of pris- 
oners on working commandos, difficult of proof, but none the 
less existent to a limited extent, I am bold enough to make the 
radical suggestion or rather recommendation that in the pending 
negotiations the non-employment of the prisoners taken by the 
two countries be one of the treaty agreements. I had a thorough 
consultation with our American boys on this matter. We con- 
cluded it was the ideal toward which to strive, on the condition 
that in case of non-employment compulsory attendance at edu- 
cational classes should be enforced. I make this recommendation 



164 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

just as emphatically as I can and with full conviction that it is 
for the best interests of our men. 

"2. We must strive for the abolishment of the compound sys- 
tem. At the camp the men were in four separate compounds, 
between which no communication was allowed, although as 
previously mentioned I succeeded in securing further temporary 
freedom of communication during the days I was in the camp. 
There is really no sense in the prohibition of communication. 

"The best possible gift which we can send our men for Thanks- 
giving will be a good, substantial bed blanket, for such are badly 
needed. These should be packed in individual parcels without 
name, and 100 or more such individual parcels packed in larger 
cases and shipped to the committee. It would be fine if these 
blankets could have our Y M C A monogram and triangle. 

"Another gift which we should arrange to send our men — and 
the sooner the better — is a mess outfit consisting of knife, fork, 
and spoon, and a granite-ware or aluminum plate and coffee mug. 
At present the men have nothing but a soup spoon and a deep 
porcelain bowl. For cups many are using condensed milk tins 
which are not very sanitary, to say nothing of their being un- 
attractive. I really wish we could get such outfits to the men in 
the next few weeks. Such an outfit could be a gift to every American 
prisoner immediately after his capture and I doubt whether we 
could give anything that would be more appreciated or of greater 
practical use. 

"Wednesday morning, September 4th, I visited the hospital 
where some eight Americans are laid up. I had them all brought 
together at the bedside of Edward Roberts, of whose case you 
no doubt know. Through wounds he has become blind, but is 
none the less still the life of the camp barracks in which he lies. 
Every man speaks of his splendid spirit. With him I had a mighty 
fine visit and chat. Among the men was a Mr. Nelson who had 
been shot through the back of the head and as a result had be- 
come blind, but by some miracle he has now regained his sight. 
Milewsky, one of the men whom I had found so seriously ill in 
Darmstadt with pneumonia, came forward with a big smile on 
his face to thank me for all we had done for him. He had received 
books, parcels, underwear, and shoes. He was fully recovered, 
but still physically weak. Nelson Waters, another of the sick 



CAPTURED DOUGHBOYS ALL IN CAMP RASTATT 165 

men formerly in Darmstadt, proudly showed me the new shoes 
he had just received through our Copenhagen office and when I 
left the camp packed me up a big box of goodies as a token of his 
appreciation for our help. Hawkins, whom I found in the camp 
badly crippled through a bullet in the thigh, was transferred to 
the hospital for special medical treatment when I called the 
doctor's attention to his case. Our neutral secretary had just 
gotten a pair of crutches for him, for which he -seemed more than 
thankful. I wrote a card for Roberts to his mother and have 
promised him to write a letter to his girl. 

"This morning I sent you the following telegram: 'Send name 
of wounded German prisoner in American hands as candidate for 
exchange of Edward Roberts, our blind countryman.' I pray 
that you can get permission to have some wounded German 
prisoner exchanged for Roberts. I feel certain I can get permis- 
sion to take Roberts as far as the Swiss frontier where you in 
turn could send someone to meet him on the Swiss side. It will 
be great if we can negotiate this exchange. 

'While in the camp I was stampeded for baseball news. I am 
wondering what you have done with my suggestion regarding a 
special issue of Association Men to be sent to all American pris- 
oners of war. You no doubt recall the Continental Times, and its 
circulation among the prisoners in an attempt to prejudice them 
in favor of Germany. This paper has been circulated among our 
men and just recently a special paper has been issued entitled 
America and Europe, for the benefit (?) of our men. This is even 
worse than the Continental Times. A judicious word spoken at 
the right time has resulted in a general boycott of the aforesaid 
paper. I cannot write you the details in a letter of this kind, but I 
feel confident that the paper in question will have little if any 
influence upon our men. As far as I can discover it is being pub- 
lished by a man now in the service of the Wurtemburg War 
Ministry who formerly lived in the United States. 

"Frankly, I am greatly encouraged with reference to the new 
camp and its environment. The officials in charge with whom I 
spent considerable time seemed earnestly desirous of giving our 
men the best possible treatment. Professor Gunther, who is in 
charge of the censor's office and post office, is taking a deep per- 
sonal interest in our men and doing everything he can to make 



166 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

life comfortable for them. True, the fact that he is a civilian 
makes it difficult for him to secure privileges he desires from his 
military superiors. The reception and treatment I received from 
the officials left nothing to be desired. In fact, I have rarely 
experienced such generous treatment in the three years I have 
been here. I want you to know this because of various reports 
to the contrary which have been circulated." 



CHAPTER XVII 
REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 

Much might be said about the magnificent work which Ser- 
geant Halyburton did as ranking sergeant in the camp. While 
at Tuchel he was largely responsible for maintaining morale among 
our boys who were prisoners and above all for keeping them in 
good spirits. , At Rastatt his task became a much more difficult 
one, in view of the large number of prisoners in his charge. Be- 
fore the armistice there were 2,600 American prisoners in the 
camp, and Halyburton was responsible for law and order and 
morale among these men — a task sufficiently large for a man of 
much higher rank, for under prison camp conditions maintenance 
of morale is far more difficult than under any other circumstances. 

In the camp at Rastatt efforts were made by the German au- 
thorities to secure as much information as possible from the men 
concerning activities at the front and the location of the different 
divisions of the American Army. The Germans realized that 
most of our boys would be discouragingly noncommittal. How- 
ever, many among these prisoners were of foreign birth; in 
fact, there were not a few with whom it was necessary for me to 
speak through an interpreter because they could not speak English 
well enough to express their thoughts. We had a very large 
Italian element, as well as a considerable number of men from 
Poland, Russia, and Czecho-Slovakia. These the Germans en- 
deavored to manipulate to the greatest degree possible. Sergeant 
Halyburton was fully aware of the German intrigue, and largely 
upon his own initiative read all letters written by the American 
prisoners before they reached the hands of the German authori- 
ties. Letters containing information which Halyburton believed 
should not get into German hands were destroyed or returned to 
the writer with the request to avoid such references. In an 
endeavor to circumvent Halyburton the Germans issued an order 
granting the prisoners permission to write letters in their native 
language, realizing that many of the men would be glad to take 

167 



168 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

advantage of this privilege. Halyburton, however, was equal to 
the occasion and informed the men that he would not pass any 
letter which was not written in English. The result was that he 
won out. 

The efforts to propagandize the Americans through the news- 
paper America and Europe continued and became more deter- 
mined. On a visit of the editor, Major Tauscher, Sergeant Haly- 
burton declared that as long as he was ranking sergeant he would 
not tolerate the circulation of the paper among his countrymen. 
Soon thereafter Sergeant Halyburton and two others, mainly to 
serve as a blind, were removed from the camp and sent to Heu- 
berg much to the consternation of the American boys, all of whom 
looked to Halyburton very much as their hero. On a visit made 
to the camp shortly after I learned from the men of this transfer, 
although no word had reached me through correspondence. I 
realized the motive back of the transfer and protested vigorously 
to the local camp authorities as well as to the head of the De- 
partment of War Ministry for American prisoners of war, and 
fortunately succeeded in securing Sergeant Halyburton's return 
to the camp. Such were some of the difficulties with which our 
men had to contend. 

The following incident is also typical of the splendid spirit 
manifested by our doughboys under Halyburton's leadership. 
The German non-commissioned officers were anxious to secure 
some of the excellent supplies which were being sent to our Amer- 
ican doughboys, and proposed to purchase them from the indi- 
vidual prisoners. Needless to say this was a big temptation, on 
the basis of the prices which prevailed for such commodities as 
chocolate, sugar, butter, tobacco, and the like. Sergeant Haly- 
burton emphatically refused, replying to the German non- 
commissioned officers, "You have shown us German discipline,. 
we will show you that we, too, have discipline," and at once he 
issued a bulletin warning the doughboys of the camp that any- 
one caught selling American goods to the Germans would be 
punished most severely. As a result very little if any of the sup- 
plies our doughboys at Rastatt received were sold to the Germans, 
who were most anxious to buy. 

Through the hearty cooperation of our offices at Beme and 
Copenhagen we were able to provide the boys at Rastatt with 




Stringed Orchestra of French Prisoners, 
Camp Ohrdruf 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 169 

complete athletic outfits, including playground baseball, football, 
volley ball and the like. We purchased a piano; a phonograph 
and records were provided; musical instruments for a band of 
twenty were furnished, and under the leadership of Corporal 
Bergman and Private Grimsley a most successful band was 
organized. Through our Swiss office large numbers of books, 
study books as well as fiction, were sent to the camp. In short, 
nothing was left undone to provide the men with adequate facili- 
ties for physical, mental, and spiritual activity. Baseball and 
football teams were organized in each of the compounds and a 
regular schedule of games arranged for. There were few moments 
of the day when a baseball game was not being played as long 
as the weather permitted. 

I was able to visit the camp regularly at least once if not twice 
a month until the time of the armistice. During these visits we 
would invariably arrange for evening entertainments in some bar- 
racks of the ' respective compounds. On such nights the barrack 
chosen for the entertainment was invariably crowded to its ut- 
most capacity. In the center of the room two to four sets of the 
double tier bunks were usually pushed aside to make place for 
the band. Every available space, bunks and rafters included, was 
occupied by interested, expectant doughboys. The impression 
made upon me as I looked into the faces of my countrymen and 
saw their whole-hearted participation in the entertainment will 
never be forgotten. One evening, after securing permission from 
the German authorities, we had the band strike up "My Country, 
'Tis of Thee," and asked the men to sing. When the first strain 
of the music was heard it did one's heart good to see the way 
hats and caps were removed and the men all straightened up to 
an erect standing or sitting position. And how they did sing! 
It was not long before we had learned the words of all four verses 
and on every occasion all four were sung. One night by a happy 
inspiration I pulled out my silk American flag which I had always 
carried with me, waving it to the tune of the last verse as it was 
being played. The effect on the men of seeing Old Glory thus 
displayed there in the prison camp can be imagined. There was a 
spontaneous outburst of wild cheers and ringing applause, and 
then all joined in with even greater intensity than ever in the 
singing of the last verse. 



170 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

It was suggested that the men work up a yell to be used on 
similar gatherings. The following was the result: 

"A-M-E-R-I-C-A! America! America! America! 
Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta (machine-gun style). 
A shrill whistle, B-o-o-o-o-m!" 

With proper cheer leading, this yell went off with a bang and 
great effectiveness. After an evening's entertainment, concluding 
with the singing of "My Country, Tis of Thee" and this yell, the 
men departed to their respective barracks and bunks. I know 
that every one of us left those meetings better American citizens 
than we had ever been before and better appreciating the privilege 
and the significance of singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." 

The Germans invariably made the most of the fact that so many 
of our men spoke such poor English or none at all. But I was 
always able to come back with an idea which impressed them, 
namely, that in spite of the fact that these men represented many 
of the nations at war they were none the less one when it came to 
patriotism and loyalty to the U. S. A. The Germans in an at- 
tempt to account for this remarkable loyalty which was so very 
apparent attributed it largely to our educational system, which no 
doubt is more or less true. Would that we had similar harmony 
and unity of opinion among the respective classes of our country! 

On Sunday mornings a church service was regularly held, the 
German authorities having permitted our men the use of the 
Russian Church which had been erected by the Germans as part 
of the propaganda among the Ukrainian prisoners. Ofttimes as 
many as 500 of our boys attended these services. It was an 
informal, general religious service, and I have seen the Italian- 
American on his knees reverently telling his beads while I was 
speaking to the men assembled. Corporal Upton, representing 
the Catholics, always took an active part in some phase of the 
religious service. 

The American prisoners got up a camp newspaper, the first 
issue of which appeared September 14, 1918. This is reproduced 
in Appendix III. 

Another letter written at this period follows: 

October 2, 1918. 
"I returned yesterday from another three days' visit in Camp 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 171 

Rastatt with our countrymen there and wish immediately to 
send you a report. On my arrival I was agreeably surprised 
to hear the shouting and rooting taking place. The cause of this 
was soon evident in the form of a hotly contested playground 
baseball game. From afar came the sounds of musical instru- 
ments and on inquiry I was told that it was the band practicing 
for the evening concerts. The entire appearance of the camp was 
in marked contrast to that which it presented on my previous 
visit. Then the men were just hanging around. This time every- 
thing presented a scene of activity. Footballs were being kicked 
through the air, and a baseball game was on with several hundred 
enthusiastic rooters. In the barracks the men were playing chess, 
checkers, and dominoes, etc., while others were reading and 
still others were busy in studying French or German; and all 
was due to the supplies which had been forwarded through the 

Y M C A. 

"The gratitude of the men for these was indescribable. I was 
literally stormed by men who came to express their thanks and 
to assure me that they would always put in a good word for the 

Y M C A. How I wish those who contributed so liberally to the 
Student Friendship Fund could have been with me on this visit 
and seen the results of the investment of the money which they 
had given. Good cheer, occupation of mind, body, and soul, 
salvation from the maddening monotony of camp life — these were 
some of the results for our doughboys in German prisons arising 
from the gifts of American students to this fund. 

"A visit to the storeroom gave evidence of efficient manage- 
ment on the part of the American Help Committee in the camp 
and furthermore indicated that the Red Cross supplies were now 
arriving in good shape. There was just one occurrence which had 
put a damper on the spirits of the men. That was the removal of 
Sergeant Halyburton and his secretary, Geoghegan, men of out- 
standing ability and of great popularity among the doughboys. 
I was told by the interpreter privately that the two had been 
transferred to Heuberg for reasons which I could perhaps sur- 
mise. 1 Apparently, Halyburton had too aggressively opposed the 
propaganda which the Germans were endeavoring to carry on 
among our men. 

1 See page 168. 



172 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

"The covers of the indoor baseballs are all ripped, even though 
they have been repaired a dozen if not twenty times. I wired our 
Copenhagen office yesterday to send on further athletic equip- 
ment. This is badly needed if the athletic activities which are 
so very popular are to continue without interruption. The men 
are clamoring for a full set of baseball mitts in order to begin real 
baseball. Volley ball is proving most popular; and just as soon as 
the large field set aside for the men is fixed they will have some 
good, fierce football games, for which teams have already been 
organized. Our kitchen is just about finished. All that is neces- 
sary now is to install the range and furnish the necessary cooking 
utensils. These have been ordered and are ready for shipment. 
More delay is being experienced with reference to our Y M C A 
hut. It seems that the commandanture of the camp is planning 
to add a new compound of sixteen barracks to the American camp 
and our hall is being held up until definite settlement is reached 
with reference to the new compound. I strongly urged that we 
get it under way as soon as possible, so that we can celebrate 
Thanksgiving in the new hall. The men look forward to its com- 
pletion with exaggerated interest and enthusiasm, and many men 
have volunteered to help in the construction of the building in 
order that it may be finished more quickly. 

"Friday I had the privilege of seeing the efficient manner in 
which the weekly ration sent by the American Red Cross is dis- 
tributed to the men by the camp committee in charge. It did 
one's heart good to see the broad smile that lighted up the faces 
of the men as they marched by the distributing committee and 
received from one a tin of pork and beans, from another a package 
of tobacco, from still another four packages of hard tack, and so 
on. Men just five days from the front feel as though they had 
dropped into a veritable paradise when they receive their first 
parcel and kit on arrival in the camp. I witnessed this unexpected 
joy in the case of some seventeen men who arrived Saturday 
night, although captured as late as September 22nd. It seems 
that our protests regarding the confiscation of the men's equip- 
ment immediately after capture and our request for more speedy 
transfer of the men to the prison camps have had telling effect, 
for the men now arrive from the front with the entire equipment 
which was in their possession when captured. Furthermore, they 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 173 

are not held behind the lines for any length of time, but are shipped 
immediately to the prison camps. 

"Friday night a band concert was given and mighty well the 
band played, considering their crude equipment. I was asked to 
double the number of instruments we have already sent so that 
they will have a band of twenty-four men. I met with the 
Y M C A and Red Cross committees of the camp and could not 
help but marvel at the wonderful spirit and earnestness revealed 
by these men. We discussed methods of greater efficiency, how 
to reach the men more effectively, and how to secure their greater 
participation in the different forms of activity being promoted. 
Saturday afternoon I gave over to personal interviews, and how 
many there were of them will become evident to you from the 
hosts of requests made by individual men which I will send you 
during the next few days. The arrival of Private Charles Jatho, 
an ordained clergyman from Massachusetts, means much for the 
religious life of the camp. A week ago Sunday he spoke at the 
morning church service and, judging by the words of praise from 
the men which have reached me, he apparently made a 'hit' in the 
real sense of the word. 

"The baseball games go on throughout the day. We are hav- 
ing a hard time to furnish enough balls, for they are being used 
up most rapidly. Many individual men came to me deeply thank- 
ful for what had been done for them since the last visit. Thus a 
little Italian for whom I had cashed a check assured me that I was 
the best man in the world and that he was ready to do anything 
possible for me at any time in the future. He has now opened a 
little barber shop in the camp and is making good. Another ex- 
pressed his deep gratitude for the dark glasses we had sent to him, 
and so on down the list. Saturday evening the band again played, 
greatly fortified by the piano which had arrived during the day. 
The loud hurrah which was heard when the men espied the piano 
and the eagerness with which they brought it into camp were 
good to hear and see. So many men tackled the piano that it 
was literally buoyed through the air like a great, big playground 
ball. One man after another tried his fingers on the keys as soon 
as the piano was taken out of the case. All the old rag-time 
selections and popular home songs had to be played one after the 
other, while the men gathered about the piano and sang together. 



174 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

"I had so many invitations for meals during my stay that I 
proposed that we arrange a big banquet table out in the open so 
that all could be present. Possibly we will do something of the 
kind on Thanksgiving Day if the weather permits. 

"Sunday morning came with a drizzling rain and I was fearful 
lest our outdoor church services which we had planned on Sat- 
urday would be broken up. I came to the camp at eight-thirty 
entirely alone and was admitted without further ado by the 
guard at the gate upon presentation of my Ausweis. The camp 
presented a busy appearance. Many of the men were washing 
and cleaning up, others were getting improvised hymn sheets, 
etc., in readiness. Jatho and Bisbing were hurrying about mak- 
ing final preparations for the service. Shortly before nine the rain 
ceased. We had been deliberating whether or not to hold the 
service indoors, although I urged that we hold it outdoors if at 
all possible. As the rain ceased we decided that the outdoor 
service would be held. Sergeant Payne, temporarily in charge, 
arranged for the men in the two other compounds to assemble in 
marching order. It was with a thrill that I witnessed them 
marching in with the long, easy stride so typical of our men and 
so different from the rigid goose-stepping of the Germans. Many 
had the new uniforms and hats furnished by the Red Cross and 
they looked like old veterans, so well they carried themselves. An 
improvised altar was made by means of a table and a few chairs, 
around which at some distance the men lined up. At first the 
band played an overture and then the hymns which the men 
sang. Bible selections were next read. One of the men offered 
prayer and then I was called upon to speak. How I wish the pic- 
ture of that meeting as a whole in some way could be conveyed 
to the mothers, fathers, and wives of the men back home. I am 
sure it would bring consolation to many an anxious relative. The 
earnest attentiveness of the men and their whole-hearted partici- 
pation in the whole service were such as I had rarely experienced 
before. There was a demand for New Testaments and Bibles 
and before I left I was given an order for 200 additional New 
Testaments. An order was also placed for a supply of 'Jesus of 
Nazareth'; I would urge you to send at least 250 copies of this. 

"After this service in the camp I went over to the hospital 
where at the time of my visit there were some sixty-eight invalided 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 175 

Americans. All those who were not bedridden assembled around 
the cot of Edward Roberts, our blind fellow-countryman. There 
we talked of things in general with considerable good-natured 
spirit, but suddenly and unconsciously drifted into a little service. 
A deep seriousness and unusual interest were manifest. It was 
evident that the men had neglected more or less completely the 
religious side of their lives since their capture, and it startled 
them to receive the challenge not to forget their God. Roberts 
personally still continued happy as a lark, now all the more so 
in view of the news I was able to bring him that he is soon to 
leave. I shall wire you as soon as we know the date and route 
of his departure, so that you can arrange to meet us at the fron- 
tier. After our service I visited the bedridden Americans, some 
fifteen men, most of whom were suffering from trench rheumatism 
but who were otherwise well. Sunday afternoon I again gave to 
personal interviews and was besieged by many men with numerous 
requests. 

"A little incident that gave me pain was the departure of a 
squad of seventeen men for a working commando on Sunday 
morning just before our camp service. I think I know how every 
single man of that squad must have felt, leaving the camp with 
its many activities and friends to go out into the unknown and 
strange enemy country alone. They are being scattered about 
upon small farms. This plan has many good points, but its big 
disadvantage is the fact that the individual men will be alone 
with people whose language they do not understand. I have ar- 
ranged with the Y M C A committee to give every man departing 
from the camp a proper send-off and above all to keep in touch 
with him after his departure. Permission was secured and definite 
plans were made to circulate our books among the men on com- 
mando, and to send them weekly bulletins relative to camp ac- 
tivity and regular copies of the camp newspaper, the first issue 
of which has already appeared, just as soon as it is printed. We 
wish to maintain the tie that binds our men, even though they 
represent so many different nationalities. The camp relief com- 
mittee is making all necessary arrangements for efficient parcel 
distribution to the men on commando." 

My efforts to secure permission for taking Edward Roberts, 
the blind American, to Switzerland so that he might receive more 



176 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

immediate and careful medical attention were finally successful. 
Late in October I proceeded to the camp to notify Roberts of his 
good fortune. It was hard for him to believe that the good news 
was really true and for a long while he could not grasp its sig- 
nificance. Then in quiet excitement he began packing, all his 
comrades coming to his assistance, for we were to leave the next 
morning on an early train. His cup of joy seemed to be running 
over, and through the rest of the day and until he finally left the 
hospital barracks he was in a state of extreme nervousness. I 
had made arrangements with the relief committee and Y M C A 
committee, the members of which had secured permission from 
the officials, to meet him at the station a half hour or more before 
train time. I had purchased tickets and when the train finally 
pulled in we bade farewell to the men left behind. They were 
glad to see Roberts go, yet I know everyone of them deep down 
in his heart was wishing that he, too, was en route for home. 
Obviously the German passengers eyed us with interested curi- 
osity. Their sympathy was expressed more than once for Roberts's 
condition which I was asked to explain several times by different 
individuals. All seemed glad that their Government had granted 
his release in this way. Not once throughout the trip did I hear 
a word of bitterness from the German passengers who were in the 
same compartment with us. Several of them offered Roberts 
cigarettes and one woman gave him some home-made cake that 
she had baked. The interest in him was entirely sympathetic. 
Through train delays we arrived at the Swiss frontier too late 
that night to meet Dr. Harte, who had come all the way from 
Berne in an auto to take us back; and as there were no connec- 
tions we had to remain at the frontier station until the following 
morning, when Dr. Harte again appeared. Needless to say this 
delay so near liberty was most exasperating for both of us, espe- 
cially for Roberts, who had hoped to be in Switzerland, a free man, 
that night. I made a special effort to get a good supper and at the 
frontier was able to get roast chicken, the first really civilized 
meal that Roberts had had in the course of his eight or more 
months of imprisonment. How we did enjoy everything! It was 
difficult for Roberts to realize that he was free at last and needless 
to say his gratitude was unlimited. He remained in Berne for 
several days feasted by all Americans there and then was sent on 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 177 

to Paris, and from there to America. This was but one of many- 
little errands of mercy which our work enabled us to do on behalf 
of the men who were prisoners of war. 

Some time later I visited the camp at Rastatt again. This was 
after the German revolution had occurred resulting in the over- 
throw of the military power and the establishment of the Soldiers' 
and Workmen's Councils. On arriving in Rastatt I thought an 
American invasion had struck town, for doughboys in large num- 
bers were strolling up and down the principal streets. On ques- 
tioning a number of them, I was told that the Soldiers' Council 
which had usurped power at the prison camp had hailed the 
American boys as brothers, declaring that they, too, were now 
free and had thrown open the gates of the camp, giving our men 
the freedom of the town. Needless to say, dangers were involved 
in such promiscuous mingling of our American prisoners with the 
German population without any discipline or regulations. The 
situation was aggravated by the fact that an epidemic of influenza 
was raging in the city, from which our boys in the prison camp 
had so far kept free. 

I immediately hurried to the camp and in consultation with 
Sergeant Halyburton it was agreed to request the Soldiers' Coun- 
cil to withdraw their order, which gave our men the freedom of 
the town, and to inaugurate new regulations in order to maintain 
the usual discipline of the camp, and to prevent our men from go- 
ing into the city. Naturally, there was considerable opposition on 
the part of a number of the American boys to what they termed 
the high-handed procedure of Sergeant Halyburton in closing the 
gates and demanding the usual discipline. However, persuasion 
soon won them over to the reasonableness of Sergeant Haly- 
burton's appeal and all backed him up to the limit. A provost 
guard composed of American sergeants in the camp was immedi- 
ately organized and was responsible for the fulfilment of the 
orders issued. It is to the credit of our men that during these 
trying days they maintained unusually good order and carried 
themselves well. The Germans commented again and again on 
the wonderful discipline manifested by our boys. 

We did everything possible to provide even more adequately 
than heretofore for sufficient activities within the camp, in order 
that time might pass quickly and profitably. Athletic events 



178 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

were scheduled throughout the days, concerts were given every 
night, and thus the men were kept busy, forgetting the delay in 
repatriation for which, needless to say, everyone was most anxious. 
The following two bulletins issued by Sergeant Halyburton are 
typically American and indicative of his genius as a leader of men. 
These- were drawn upr by him in cooperation with his secretary, 
Charles Geoghegan. 

Bulletin A 

"In view of today's turn of events in the World Crisis it be- 
hooves us as honorable prisoners of war and accredited represen- 
tatives of the American Government, to be living exponents of 
our republican ideals, which in effect, can be summed up in the 
few words, Be soldiers, consequently gentlemen at all times. 

"You have all borne with a noble fortitude the trials of prison 
life up to now. In the present critical period, the time of anxious 
waiting for an honorable consummation of this war and the re- 
sultant joyful reunion in home ties, let us be exceptionally careful 
of our behavior and exhibit on all occasions the manly principle 
inherent in all true sons of the United States. 

"Be clean — in body at least— and let us remember clean thoughts 
and clean speech are invaluable aids to a clean and healthy body. 
Wash your clothes regularly! Cleanliness is the foundation of 
health, the first law of sanitation. Let us feel and act during the 
remainder of our internment as if we were always on dress parade. 
We owe it to our country and should each and every one of us be 
typical examples, pure interpreters of the magnificent, virile spirit 
that permeates our native land. You all believe in republican 
ideas — propagate them! And the surest way to present the tenets 
of democracy in an impressive manner is to act them. 

"We feel sure that we will have the cooperation of the vast 
majority of our number in this respect. Nevertheless, should 
there be any one among us to commit a breach of soldierly, gen- 
tlemanly conduct from now until the time when we reach the 
Statue of Liberty (or our own units in France and England) such 
misconduct will be reported to the proper authorities and he will 
most likely receive the punishment he merits. 

"E. M. Halyburton." 

Bulletin B 

"Pursuant to the happenings of the past twenty-four hours all 
American prisoners of war will please note the following: 

"1. It is likely the discipline of our unit will have to be admin- 
istered almost entirely by ourselves; consequently, the responsi- 
bility for the execution of all orders necessary for our general 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 179 

welfare devolves primarily upon the non-commissioned officers. 
Men bearing the insignia of a non-commissioned rank must live 
up to their stripes and carry out all ordinances to the letter. 

"2. a. No men shall traverse the road between blocks unes- 
corted by a German guard unless accompanied by an N. C. 0. 
who is responsible for their good conduct. 

"b. All work details, etc., will be formed as heretofore in a 
military manner under the direction of the Block Chiefs and their 
aides. 

"c. All travel between or outside of blocks must be done in 
military formation. 

"3. Now is the time to show your manhood! Keep your mouth 
shut and act — but let your deeds be in accordance with the highest 
American ideals. This is the occasion to bring out the sand and 
grit to the surface — or — the yellow! 

"4. All infractions of rules will be severely dealt with. A non- 
commissioned officers' court will consider offenses and mete out 
the punishment commensurate with their gravity. In addition, 
all cases will be reported to the proper military authorities imme- 
diately upon our arrival at the U. S. A. Army Post. 

"5. Men, look the situation square in the face and do the right 
thing. It is only your duty! Keep your clean record untarnished. 
"November 10, 1918. E. M. Halyburton." 

Speculation was extensive regarding how soon the men would 
leave the camp on their way to America. Many of them ex- 
pected to get away before Thanksgiving, but my knowledge of 
the situation made me somewhat more conservative and I told 
the boys to plan quietly for a Thanksgiving celebration in the 
camp, since they would probably not get out much before the 
fifth of December. It was difficult for the men to concentrate on 
any definite program, but after considerable effort we succeeded 
in getting the respective committees to plan a real American 
Thanksgiving celebration for Thanksgiving Day. The morning 
was given over to a church service of thanksgiving at which a 
large number of the men were present. Then came Thanksgiving 
dinner, consisting of corned willie, pork and beans, corn fritters, 
rice pudding, and the like, which we ate with a relish, at the same 
time all doubtless thinking of the Thanksgiving turkey, cranberry 
sauce, and sweet potatoes that we would be eating were we at 
home. It was a great meal, nevertheless. In the afternoon the 



180 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

big event of the day took place, namely, the championship foot- 
ball game between the two compound teams that had won out 
up to date. Rivalry was keen, excitement intense. Not having 
adequate football togs, the men padded shoulders, knees, and hips 
with towels, pajamas, sweaters — anything they could lay their 
hands on. The game was most hotly contested, but ended in a 
nothing-to-nothing tie with no man injured. This was a most 
memorable occasion, for not only did the game take place outside 
the barbed wire fence, but all the Americans of the camp were 
permitted to go out and witness it. 

Then came our exhibit of handicraft articles made by the pris- 
soners of war during their spare moments. It was not a large 
exhibit, but there were a number of very good and interesting 
pieces of work. I remember particularly an American flag which 
one of the men had laboriously made out of the tobacco bags in 
which his tobacco allotment had come, the blue field being made 
of part of an old French uniform coat. 

For the evening we had a vaudeville show scheduled, having 
secured permission from the authorities as well as from the Rus- 
sians to use their large theater and assembly hall. It was packed 
to the limit with our doughboys, every single man who was able 
being in attendance. The show went off with a vim, all the enter- 
tainers doing their utmost to put on a good program. Cheer after 
cheer went up and applause was unlimited. The band did its 
part in furnishing plenty of stirring music. The evening was 
concluded by the singing of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and the 
roaring and shouting of the yell of which I have previously spoken. 
The effectiveness of the yell was clearly demonstrated when the 
2,500 men, all yelling in time under the direction of the cheer 
leader, filled the large hall with its resounding notes. 

This was my last evening with the American boys. To break 
away from them was not easy. One after another, they came up 
for a good stiff handshake and a brief word of thanks for what 
the Y had done for them during their captivity. The numerous 
letters of appreciation which have been received since indicate 
that this feeling was sincere. We had done our utmost to serve 
the boys. No doubt much more could have been done under 
more favorable conditions, but we are grateful that it was our 
privilege to remain in Germany so as to render this service to our 



REAL AMERICANISM IN EVIDENCE 181 

countrymen who were in such dire need of just the kind of thing 
we tried to do for them. 

I quote at this time from a report of one of our secretaries to 
show just what prison life and imprisonment meant to the men. 
He writes as follows: 

"A month ago a Russian general whom I have often visited 
presented me with a book by a Russian author, Dosdojewski, 
which he had translated into French. It was entitled 'Souvenir 
de la Maison des Morts' and contained recollections of Dosdojew- 
ski's imprisonment in Siberia. The general told me that what is 
said in the first part of the book regarding the spiritual condition 
of the prisoners is very typical of his own prison captivity. I 
have read the book, which explains what is already expressed in 
the title and is so similar to the condition of the prisoners in the 
camps I am now visiting. In a true sense of the word they are 
'dead men.' Let me explain this point of view. The author, 
Dosdojewski, states in his book that the prisoners never make 
friends, although they have the opportunity day after day to do 
so. Notwithstanding the fact that they converse much with each 
other, they are lonely men. I had the opportunity to speak with 
a prisoner on this point the other day and he was decidedly of the 
same opinion. He said, 'It is impossible to make friends with 
men with whom you are in constant contact all hours of the day. 
If I were to make up my mind to establish a friendship with one 
of the men in the camp I should wish to see him but one hour a 
day. When I entered the camp I was a liberal minded man, but 
during the years of imprisonment I have become melancholy, a 
misanthrope, because of this constant living with other men.' 

"I have said that the men are 'dead,' and it is on this account 
that the aim of our Association should be to uphold life and to 
arouse life in the men — to foster, as it were, content among them. 
To make them happy I think is not the scope of our activity, as 
I think it is not impossible that this is attained by that which we 
may do for them. I have found that the prisoners — the French, 
for example — who have abundant food sent to them, are not any 
more contented than the others — for example, the Russians — 
who receive practically nothing; and in working commandos 
where they have heavy and hard work they are not any more 
discontented than in those places where the men have a much 
easier time of it. The same is true in the camps. In some they 
have abundant facilities for athletics, theatricals, movie-shows, 
and the like, and yet do not seem any more contented there than 
in camps where less adequate facilities for entertainment are pro- 
vided However, the men who have all these things — that is, 
abundant food, plenty of reading matter, adequate facilities for 



182 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

entertainment, and plenty of work — seem to have more life than 
the others. Only he is content who has assured himself that the 
world is ruled by a good and reasonable Supreme Power and that 
what occurs to him has its definite object. As already stated, it 
does not make a man content to give him food parcels or books, 
but by giving him these things it will perhaps make it easier for 
him to believe in the good will of the world, for in these gifts he 
cannot fail to recognize friendliness and sympathetic considera- 
tion for him. Thus it is that prisoners are more content even 
where camp life is rigid and difficult than in those camps where 
conditions are more congenial but where there is less reason in 
the same. 

"In order to show the prisoners with whom I deal that genuine 
friendliness is the background of our activity I have in the past 
month made it a practice, when they submit inquiries to me con- 
cerning their families in the home country or parcels which they 
have not received, to advise the prisoner in question immediately 
when I have done anything in the matter. I do this to make the 
men realize that I have a sincere' interest in them and that their 
requests, even though impossible to fulfil, are not ignored. The 
beneficial result of this procedure is evident from the cards which 
of late I have been receiving from the prisoners, in which they 
express their appreciation of my sincere interest in them. Thus a 
Russian officer writes as follows, after he had asked me to send 
food parcels to him: T shall be deeply indebted to you in case 
you will place me on your list of fledglings. I hope that I shall 
very soon and finally be released from my present difficult posi- 
tion.' 

"I find that one of the most effective methods to arouse vitality 
and interest on the part of the men is through books and studies, 
but in order to make this effective and secure proper promotion 
and participation in the camp school work it is essential to have 
an adequate room for the purpose. Such rooms the com- 
mandantures of the respective camps have kindly set aside for 
our use upon our request, apparently realizing the beneficial effect 
of such activity in the maintenance of the proper discipline and 
proper spirit of content among the prisoners." 



CHAPTER XVIII 
FIRST DAYS OF THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 

Early in October portentous changes occurred. October 4th 
and 5th were momentous days in the history not only of Ger- 
many but of the world, for in them a definite proposal was made 
by the Germans that the warring countries should enter into 
peace negotiations. It was evident in Berlin that some important 
and perhaps decisive move was being planned. A special meeting 
of the Reichstag had been called for one o'clock, but when the 
noon papers appeared announcing that the session of the newly 
organized Parliament — largely democratic in its representation, 
but paradoxically headed by a prince, Prince Max of Baden — 
had been postponed from one to five o'clock because of important 
new developments, excitement and speculation ran rife. One 
waited with bated breath for the first reports of the afternoon 
parliamentary session at which the Chancellor was to make his 
inaugural speech, for it was understood that he was to make a 
very definite peace proposal and had been appointed largely for 
this task. The night editions of the newspapers were late and at a 
premium. It was most difficult to get a copy. At the news stands 
the people were lined up as late as nine o'clock waiting for the 
last night edition of the papers, in the hope that they would give 
a more detailed account of the proceedings of the session than had 
appeared in the earlier editions. A strange hush could be felt 
everywhere. 

Even the discussions concerning the developments of the day 
took place in an awe-inspiring manner. Any individual who was 
lucky enough to secure a paper was immediately surrounded by a 
crowd, which shoved and pushed and crowded him under a street 
lamp and then compelled him to hold up his paper high enough 
so that everyone could read the first reports of the Chancellor's 
speech and the new peace maneuvers, which had been made in 
the form of a note to President Wilson requesting him to nego- 
tiate steps for the immediate conference of the warring parties to 

183 



184 IN THK PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

discuss peace on the basis of Wilson's twenty-three conditional 
clauses. Here and there were groups where the man in possession 
of a paper read the accounts of the parliamentary session to the 
intensely quiet but interested throng about him. There was no 
cheering or loud enthusiasm of any kind; yet the very atmosphere 
seemed to be filled with one vast sigh of relief that at last the 
long-hoped-for step toward peace had been taken; and no doubt 
many a prayer was offered that it would lead to ultimate and 
speedy peace. 

In marked contrast to these anxious crowds awaiting the latest 
news of possible peace were the amusement-mad crowds in the 
cafes and theaters on that same night. One could not but con- 
trast the two groups. It was hard to realize that anyone could 
be so indifferent or callous to the crucial condition of affairs. In 
fact, it angered one to see these crowds apparently so unmindful 
of what was likely to determine the future of the world's history. 
Personally I was most deeply impressed by it all, and consciously 
as well as involuntarily prayers came to my lips that peace with 
righteousness might come out of the move just taken. 

From that time on events kept crowding one another in such 
rapid succession that it was difficult to keep up to date. By 
October 25th many changes had occurred within Germany and 
others continued to take place which resulted in remarkable and 
astounding internal developments. To quote from a letter 
written at that time: 

"Posters and newspaper articles are now seen, in fact have 
become the order of the day, which a month ago would have 
resulted in immediate imprisonment of the writers if not in their 
death as traitors to the country. Political amnesty, insubordina- 
tion to military authority which had heretofore been the supreme 
power, even superior to civil authority, an unusual degree of 
freedom of speech — these and many other phenomena are crowd- 
ing the stage of the new democracy being born here these days. 
The unuttered protests of the masses against the principle that 
might makes right, their long, mute suffering of its abuses, are now 
rumbling in crescendo manner, threatening a terrific outburst of 
righteous indignation. Woe to those who endeavor to thwart the 
masses in realizing their new-born freedom! One wonders what 
to expect next. The righteous aim of the War, which has grad- 




A.*i 



Spurts Day, Cellelauer 



Jp 'iiiv 





In the Prison Camp Compound, Munster II 




FIRST DAYS OP THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 185 

ually crystallized during the years — namely, the destruction of 
the power which adopts as its principle the theory that might 
makes right — seems nearer fulfilment, and when that is achieved 
the war will end, to bring to the long suffering world the new 
regime where the principle that right makes might is predominant. 

"Tomorrow (October 27th) a host of political meetings are 
scheduled in all parts of the city and by all parties in the field, 
those representing the old as well as those of the new spirit. 
The old regime is wobbling and the radical changes of the past 
week, granted because of the tremendous pressure brought to 
bear by the more democratic elements in the Government, are 
giving it the knock-out blow. The resignation of Ludendorff is 
significant and abundant evidence of how far-reaching the reforms 
have been. And here I am in the midst of this epoch-making 
cyclone of political history, hardly conscious of its volume and 
significance. Analysis of the whole situation reveals the presence 
of that Supreme Something which slowly but surely and irre- 
sistibly is bringing to the world and to mankind the era of right- 
eousness, of which Christ is the personification; and so one is 
beginning to recognize the causes to be thankful for, in spite of 
the stern, hard, and tragic facts of the War." 

It may be well at this place to call more detailed attention to 
the message of the Emperor at Easter time, 1917. That the 
people who had endured so much on behalf of the Fatherland, but 
in whose government they had had comparatively little represen- 
tation, would demand upon completion of the War a more demo- 
cratic representation as well as a more active part in the manage- 
ment of the affairs of the country evidently was recognized by 
the Emperor's circle of advisers. The result was a promise on 
the part of the Emperor that, just as soon as conditions warranted, 
suffrage would be extended and developed on a more liberal and 
democratic basis than heretofore. This no doubt was done to 
prevent the Majority Socialists as well as the Independent So- 
cialists from bolting and forming an opposition party in the 
Government. At any rate, the promise made accomplished this 
end. There had been repeated rumors that the Socialists repre- 
senting the Left faction of Parliament were threatening to step 
out and oppose the Government when the year's budget was to 
be presented. The Kaiser's message temporarily at least delayed 



186 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

this withdrawal, but as the months went on the demand of the 
Left wing for the fulfilment of the promise made by the Kaiser 
became more and more insistent. The government supporters of 
the Kaiser, however, continued to put off the issue involved, with 
the result that the Left opposition to the Government continued 
to grow. No doubt during the winter months of 1917 and 1918 
the representatives of the Russian Bolshevik Government, who 
had come to Berlin under the leadership of Joffe, carried on ex- 
tensive propaganda and agitation among the more radical elements 
of the Left wing, with the result that the demand was made for 
an immediate and complete revision of the political basis of 
representation. 

We have already spoken of the drive in the early months of 
1918 with its fatal outcome so far as the German cause was con- 
cerned. The recognition that they, the Germans, were fighting 
in a hopeless cause, coupled with the disillusionment following 
the failure of the Kaiser to fulfil the promise in his Easter mes- 
sage, were two of the most potent factors in bringing about the 
revolutionary changes that occurred in October, 1918, and cul- 
minated in the complete overthrow of the German monarchistic 
government. 

The Left wing took advantage of the universal dissatisfaction 
and the growing complaint among the masses of the people in the 
large cities and industrial centers. These had suffered most. A 
large percentage of their men folks had been killed in battle or 
were prisoners. Prices continued to soar, while food and clothing 
supplies were rapidly diminishing. All these factors had a marked 
effect in undermining the morale of the civilian population. The 
propaganda of the Northcliffe press worked with telling effect, 
not only on the soldiers at the front, but on the civilian populace 
behind the lines in Germany's interior. Whether or not an or- 
ganized campaign and conspiracy had been carried on for several 
months in preparation for the revolution I do not know and I 
doubt whether anyone knows. The overwhelming suddenness 
and initial complete success of the revolutionary effort would 
seem to indicate that such a preparatory campaign had been 
carried on. On the other hand, the factors described above were 
of sufficient importance to cause an overthrow as complete as 
the one which actually took place. It was simply a case where 



FIRST DAYS OF THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 187 

the strain had gone beyond the breaking point, so that when the 
bow snapped it meant utter and complete collapse. 

We know Wilson's answer to the proposal made by Prince 
Max of Baden, the newly appointed Chancellor of Germany. 
On receipt of Wilson's final conditions, on the basis of which he 
would agree with the Allies to enter into negotiations for peace, 
the lines in Germany wavered. The Nationalist and Pan- 
Germanist elements were loud in their demand that the War 
continue, asserting that Germany's pride would not permit her 
to enter thus unconditionally into negotiations for a peace which 
threatened to destroy German prestige for all time. On the other 
hand, the people and the Left wing were just as emphatic and 
insistent in their demands that negotiations be entered upon. 
The general feeling prevailed that President Wilson with the 
power back of him represented by America's army and tremen- 
dous resources, which were essential to both France and England 
if the War were to continue, and in view of his repeated declara- 
tions of fair play and the fact that the Allies were not fighting 
the German people but the military party, created an unusual 
trust in Wilson's power to secure a righteous peace and one that 
would not be as severe on the German people as a peace nego- 
tiated with the Allies alone and Wilson excluded. 

Evidently the military and naval authorities recognized that 
some spectacular move must be made immediately, if this grow- 
ing demand for immediate negotiations for peace were to be 
overcome. The military authorities were losing in prestige, be- 
cause on the western front the German armies were being beaten 
back step by step with ever-increasing momentum by the ad- 
vancing Allied forces, whose morale was of the very best at the 
time. There seemed to be no hope of achievement on the battle- 
field, in spite of the continued newspaper reports that the retreat 
on the west front was purely for strategic purposes and that a 
final stand would be made by the time the Rhine was reached. 
Whether or not the recognition of this fact was the cause for the 
proposed sea battle is not known. It is true, however, that in the 
first days of November the ship crews at Kiel received orders to 
stack up with coal, which meant getting ready for sea and in 
all probability a last effort to attack the British sea fleet and 
render to it an overwhelming and crushing blow. Upon receipt 



188 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

of these orders the crews of a number of the battleships mutinied. 
The naval authorities in turn, fully conscious of the dangerous 
situation created, resorted to the most drastic measures — imme- 
diate imprisonment of the crews that had mutinied. The result 
was a general revolt of all the crews in the harbor at Kiel. Officers 
were overwhelmed and sailors' councils were organized to take 
charge of the ships. This mutiny at Kiel by the seamen, similar 
to the mutiny of the seamen in Russia, served as tinder to set 
aflame the revolution in Germany. The news was received in 
Berlin with astonishment, for the principle of obedience to their 
superiors was so inbred in the people that they wondered at the 
daring of the Kiel sailors. 

But the tide was turning. The German forces retreating before 
the blows of the advancing Allied troops were nearing the German 
frontier on the west, and an invasion of German territory by the 
Allies seemed imminent. The Government, under the leadership 
of Prince Max of Baden, continued to delay action on Wilson's 
final terms, acceptance of which was required before the Allies 
would agree to enter into negotiations for peace. The exchange 
of notes between President Wilson and the German Government 
was watched with great anxiety. Peace seemed near and yet 
everyone feared that something might occur to prevent the con- 
clusion of the final terms. 

The Left wing, representing the Social Democratic element, 
then took matters into their own hands and presented an ulti- 
matum to the Government. After this ultimatum was issued to 
the Chancellor by the Socialist Party in the Reichstag on Novem- 
ber 7th it was but a step to the complete overthrow of the old 
Government. In the ultimatum five propositions were presented, 
as follows: First, permission to hold the meetings which were 
scheduled for November 8th but which had been prohibited by the 
Government; second, instruction to police and military officials to 
be most cautious in any action taken by them; third, the abdica- 
tion of the Kaiser and the Crown Prince before Friday noon, 
November 8th; fourth, an increase of the Social Democratic 
influence in the Government; and, fifth, the remodeling of the 
Prussian Ministry in accordance with the desires of the majority 
parties in the Reichstag. 

To this ultimatum the following comment was appended: "If 



FIRST DAYS OF THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 189 

no satisfactory answer is received by Friday noon the Social 
Democratic element will withdraw from the Government." 
Special handbills containing this information were distributed 
throughout the city and addressed to the laborers and party 
colleagues. A word of caution was included, urging the people 
to be calm, in order to prevent bloodshed at home now that blood- 
shed at the front was to end, and concluding, "The Social Demo- 
cratic party is doing its utmost to bring your demands most 
quickly to fulfilment." Coupled with this manifesto was the 
promise of an increased bread ration, which was soon to go into 
effect. It is evident that the Social Democratic party was sincere 
in its desire to bring about without bloodshed the revolutionary 
changes in the Government necessary in order to satisfy the 
masses. The Government replied to the ultimatum that at least 
forty-eight hours would be required for a conference with the 
military authorities at the west front and such other authorities 
as were vitally concerned in this final step. The Left wing com- 
promised and agreed to extend the time of the original ultimatum 
twenty-four hours. 

Saturday noon, November 9th, the answer of the Government 
was to be given on the basis of this compromise. The preceding 
Thursday night the Government had sent many troops into Berlin 
and the streets that night presented a most martial appearance. 
The large restaurants and cafes in Friedrich Street just one block 
west of Unter den Linden had been requisitioned by the Gov- 
ernment for quartering the troops called to the city to be held in 
preparation for the violence that seemed imminent. The streets 
were blocked with horses and caravan wagons containing supplies 
for the troops; large numbers of heavy caliber guns and innumer- 
able machine guns were to be seen. All bridges were heavily 
guarded by soldiers. One could see armed sentinels stationed at 
all vantage points on the roofs of the public buildings about the 
royal palace. The police were reenforced, each accompanied by 
a German soldier. Needless to say, the situation was tense and 
excitement ran high in anticipation of possible events. 

On Friday matters continued comparatively quiet, but tense; 
many rumors were circulated that the sailors from Kiel were on 
the march to Berlin and were coming to overthrow the Govern- 
ment and inaugurate a revolution to replace the monarchy by a 



190 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

democracy. The Government sent out many troops along the 
railway line leading between Hamburg and Berlin, the route along 
which the sailors from Kiel were reported to be approaching Ber- 
lin. Armed resistance was being planned and many miles of track 
were torn up in the effort of the Government to prevent the 
entrance of the Kiel sailors into Berlin. By Friday night the 
situation seemed hopeless from the standpoint of the Government, 
although nominally it was still in power. No violence as yet had 
occurred in the city. 

Saturday morning on my way to the office, which was situated 
very near the royal palace, I was surprised at the remarkable 
quiet and calm that seemed to prevail. It proved, however, to 
be the calm before the storm. Wild rumors continued to chase 
one another in rapid succession. It was reported that several of 
the garrisons in Berlin had mutinied and had organized the revo- 
lutionary party to unite with the sailors. About 10:30 a. m. I 
went up Unter den Linden from the palace to the Brandenburg 
Gate. Large crowds of curious people, apparently little aware of 
the tremendous forces at work, were idly and curiously strolling up 
and down the streets, evidently desirous to be on the scene should 
anything really happen. 

As I reached Wilhelmstrasse a large motor truck, flying two red 
flags, with two machine guns mounted in front, and filled with 
armed soldiers and civilians, sped down the street, turned into the 
Unter den Linden, and passed through the Brandenburg Gate, 
using the center arch which had heretofore been held sacred for 
the Kaiser and the royal family. The revolution was on. Many 
other autos soon followed and one realized that the big event 
had occurred. Excitement ran high. Coming through the Tier- 
garten and approaching the Brandenburg Arch marched a parade 
made up of soldiers, sailors, and a large number of civilians, ap- 
parently from the near-by factories. Red flags were in evidence 
everywhere and large placards carried by individuals in the parade 
announced to the spectators the factory from which the paraders 
came. One of the placards at the head of the procession displayed 
the words, "Brothers, do not shoot." Another placard which was 
frequently carried by the paraders attracted considerable atten- 
tion and provoked much comment. Short and to the point, it 
proclaimed to the passers-by: "Liberty, Peace, Bread." 



FIRST DAYS OP THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 191 

At three o'clock Saturday afternoon, November 9th, Scheide- 
mann from the balcony of the Reichstag proclaimed the German 
Republic. Monarchy was no more and democracy had made its 
entry into Germany. As yet there had been no bloodshed. From 
then on until late in the night localized and spasmodic shooting 
occurred in different parts of the city. Unter den Linden soon 
became a teeming mass of humanity — suburbanites and residents 
of Berlin flocking thither on hearing what was taking place. 
From the veranda of the Crown Prince's palace, an orator told of 
the events that had transpired. In the space between the royal 
palace and the cathedral, a workingman on top of an ambulance 
auto eloquently explained to the crowding masses the significance 
of the revolution. Among other things he prophesied the trans- 
formation of the royal palaces into homes for invalided soldiers. 
I admired the shrewd eye for business of a movie man who passed 
up and down the street photographing, as it were, the revolution. 
His films should prove a valuable contribution to the history of 
the German Revolution. 

I -spent many hours of that first night at the east portal of the 
Reichstag in order to observe the events that were taking place. 
The revolutionists had taken possession of the building and revo- 
lutionary troops were being quartered there for emergency pur- 
poses. Every few moments a messenger appeared, announcing 
that officers were offering resistance to the revolutionary movement 
in some section of the city. He would then call for volunteers and 
immediately ten, fifteen, twenty men or boys responded. These 
were quickly armed, loaded on a waiting auto truck, and hurried 
away to the scene of resistance. Discipline was done away with; 
the rigid restraint under which every soldier had chafed many 
times was gone, and innumerable abuses of the newly won liberty 
resulted. On the whole, no doubt, because of the inherent sense 
of obedience to superiors acquired through generations, the men 
maintained unusual order under the circumstances. 

Other parties were sent out in search of German officers; when 
found they were forcibly compelled to surrender their sabers, to 
remove their epaulets, and to join the revolutionists, or to move 
on. Obviously many an officer thus accosted by men whom he 
was accustomed to see most submissive to his own commands, 
offered resistance, and fighting resulted. Hotels were searched 



192 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

and officers forced to submit under penalty of death. I witnessed 
many a scene where a general or other officer was rudely attacked 
by private soldiers, his saber torn from him, the epaulets ripped 
off from his shoulders, and he then ordered to move on. Every 
soldier was ordered to remove the red, white, and black cockade 
and all decorations. 

It was reported that in several of the caf&, notably Victoria, 
Kranzler, and Bauer, officers had entrenched themselves prepared 
to resist to the limit. Similar resistant groups of officers were 
reported to have entrenched themselves in several of the univer- 
sity buildings, in the palace and stables of the Crown Prince, and 
in the royal stables (Marstall). Parties were sent out immediately 
to storm these citadels with the result that extensive shooting 
took place. A few deaths resulted. Such was the beginning of 
the German Revolution on that memorable November 9, 1918. 

It will be recalled that in the parliamentary session of October 
22nd the Government finally yielded to the demands of the 
Majority Socialists for a more representative government and 
for the overthrow of the Prussian Junker class. On October 23rd, 
Vorwaerts, the organ of the Social Democrats, commented on this 
session as follows: 

"Without song or music, without honor and without warm 
applause, but more as one condemned and with the hisses of the 
masses, someone was buried yesterday in Parliament. The bank- 
rupt Junker regime, the system of Prussian feudalism was for- 
evermore abolished. The Reichstag through the mouth of its 
first speaker gave final condemnation to the system which has 
brought Germany into the abyss. Upon the gravestone of this 
regime the following epitaph will be placed : 'It lived as it died, in 
dishonor.' Involuntarily all the speeches made at this session 
seemed to concentrate around the inner political transformation. 
With reference to a foreign diplomacy the discussion brought no 
new sensations. The answer of the German Government to Wilson 
has been known since Monday, and since the Government now is 
no longer something strange and secret, but the confidential organ 
of the Parliament, it was clear from the beginning that between 
the Government's answer and the will of the majority unanimity 
of opinion was sure to prevail." 

In this same issue announcement was made of the liberation of 
Carl Liebnicht, who had been incarcerated because of his daring 
criticism of the Government and his open refusal to support the 




Arrival op Food Parcels in Prison Camp, Munster 




The Parcel Post Rooms at Prison Camp, Dulmen 



FIRST DAYS OF THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 193 

budget recommended by the Government for the continuance of 
the War. 

The Sunday following the proclamation of the German Republic 
was a memorable day in the history of Germany. Isolated shoot- 
ing continued throughout the downtown section of the city, in all 
cases the cause being the resistance of German officers who refused 
to obey the orders to disarm given them by the soldiers and civil- 
ians now come into power. 

The police presidency was occupied by the revolutionary party 
and here an attempt was being made to provide certificates of 
identification, as well as the necessary food cards for the many 
soldiers and sailors who flocked to Berlin at the first news of the 
revolution. All the troops from the different garrisons assembled 
here to receive orders, this time not from superiors, but from 
equals. Like magic the old-time discipline, the saluting of su- 
periors, and the goose-stepping drill, had disappeared. Everyone 
was addressed by the term "Du," the term "Sie" being eliminated 
entirely. The scene at the police presidency, where from six to 
twelve clerks were vainly but courageously endeavoring to provide 
the thousands of hungry troops with the necessary credentials for 
securing food in the shops, was one of pandemonium. I managed 
to get into the crowd and worked my way finally to one of the 
desks, where I asked for a certificate of identification. The only 
question asked was regarding my business, and on replying that 
I was engaged in welfare work a certificate was immediately given 
me without further examination. This certificate, although on a 
mere scrap of paper, proved to be a veritable magic key which 
gave me admittance to all public buildings held by the revolu- 
tionists, including the War Ministry and the Parliament, and 
enabled me to pass all guards and barricaded sections of the city. 
Some months later new permits were issued, for it is evident that 
permits given as readily and as promiscuously as the above would 
soon result in manifold abuse. 

Sunday afternoon the Tiergarten and Unter den Linden were 
one mass of humanity, strolling up and down the streets or fleeing 
precipitately when some stray shot was fired, or crowding up to 
the barricades across certain sections of the city in the hope of 
seeing any excitement that was taking place. Handbills of various 
kinds were distributed from autos which passed up and down the 



194 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

streets, giving the people the latest information of progress made 
by the new Government. Early Sunday afternoon the first proc- 
lamation of the new president, Ebert, provisionally elected, was 
widely disseminated among the pedestrians. This proclamation 
read as follows: 

"Berlin, November 9th. To the German citizens: The new 
Chancellor Ebert issues the following proclamation for the Ger- 
man citizens: 

"Fellow-Citizens: The recent Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, 
in agreement with all state secretaries, has entrusted me with the 
responsibility of the Chancellor's position. I am about to or- 
ganize the new Government in cooperation with the various par- 
ties, and will report to the public very shortly the result of this 
organization. The new Government will be a people's government. 
Its efforts must be to bring to the German people peace in the 
quickest way possible and to strengthen the liberty which she 
has just gained. 

"Fellow-citizens, I plead with you all for your hearty support 
in this difficult task which is ours. You know how the War has 
threatened the nourishment of our people, which is the first pre- 
requisite for political life. The political transformation must 
under no circumstances disturb the provisions for the feeding of 
our peoples. It must be the first duty of all in both city and rural 
communities not to hinder the production of food supplies or their 
transportation to the cities. On the contrary, all must help to 
facilitate the same. Food scarcity means plundering and robbery, 
bringing suffering to all. The poorest will suffer the most. The 
industrial laborers will be hit hardest. He who in any way hin- 
ders the transportation of food supplies or other necessary supplies, 
or who in any way withholds and prevents their proper distribu- 
tion sins most severely against the entire people. Fellow-citizens, 
I beg of you all most emphatically, leave the streets and strive for 
quiet and order." 

Additional proclamations appeared during the day. One was 
addressed particularly to all officials and government employes, 
urging them to remain at their posts in order that no serious 
upheaval of the routine business of the country should result. 

The desire of the Democrats to bring about the changes in the 
Government with as little disturbance and bloodshed as possible 
was very quickly thwarted. Unfortunately, the more radical ele- 
ments included in the Independent Socialist Party and the new 
party known as the Spartacist which made its appearance about 



FIRST DAYS OF THE GERMAN REVOLUTION 195 

this time were less sincere and, inflamed by the speeches of radical 
Russian Bolshevists, they strove to incite the people to a reign of 
terror similar to that which prevailed in Russia. It is to the 
credit of the Majority Socialist element and to the average intel- 
ligence of the German people that the Spartacists' agitation did 
not have larger results. One must remember that by the signing 
of the terms of the armistice Germany was forced to admit, 
whether she wished to or not, that she was the loser in the most 
disastrous war in the world's history. The complete overthrow of 
the old Government, built up through centuries of bloody history, 
and the inauguration of a new and inexperienced but more liberal 
form of government simultaneously with the close of the War 
greatly aggravated the situation. One must also remember the 
serious food and industrial conditions which prevailed. The 
thousands upon thousands of returning troops were crowding 
into the cities. Unable to find work, they very soon joined the 
vast ranks of the unemployed and furnished most fertile ground 
for agitation such as that conducted by the Spartacists. During 
the months of January and February, 1919, it was estimated that 
in Berlin alone there were over 350,000 unemployed, made up 
largely of returned troops. 



CHAPTER XIX 
READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 

Such were the beginnings of the German Revolution, which 
resulted in the complete overthrow of the monarchistic party and 
its replacement by a government full of promise for the develop- 
ment of an enduring democracy. In all garrisons, in prison camps 
and other troop centers, throughout the country the soldiers and 
laborers overthrew their superiors and assumed authority. In 
the prison camps the German guards drove their officers from the 
camp, took charge, threw open the gates of the prison camps, and 
welcomed the prisoners as their brothers. The result was that 
during these days one saw the varied uniforms of the hundreds of 
prisoners of war who nocked to the near-by cities to see the sights 
and in some cases to participate in the revolution which was 
taking place. In Berlin their numbers rose into the thousands. 
Many of them wandered aimlessly about the streets without food 
or shelter, reveling in the sensation of being free men once more; 
no one paid much attention to them beyond a curious inspection 
of their uniforms. 

The Association at once recognized the need of some gathering 
place for these men and, after securing the necessary permission 
from the new authorities, we made arrangements for the opening 
up of a Foyer to serve as a lounging room and a place where light 
refreshments could be secured. The British and French military 
commissions, which came to Berlin soon after the signing of the 
armistice to arrange for the repatriation of the prisoners of war, 
cooperated most heartily with our plans and provided us with 
tea, biscuits, and other things, so that we could serve refreshments 
to the prisoners. With piano, phonograph, writing material, and 
tea, coffee, and biscuits on tap throughout the day, our Foyer 
became a popular rendezvous for the prisoners from the near-by 
camps. Announcements were sent out to these camps and in the 
respective embassies, opened up for the first time in four years, 
large placards were posted, telling of the location and the nature 

196 



READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 197 

of the Foyer and inviting all to make use of the establishment. A 
committee of women, chiefly Americans, was organized and with 
their help we were in a position to render real service to the 
prisoners of war, to whom it meant much to have the opportunity 
to talk with women who spoke their own language. 

The Foyer, although a small one, was crowded to its utmost 
capacity from morning till night and there were days when we 
catered to over 1,700 men. It was kept in operation during the 
course of the three months required for the repatriation of the 
French, British, American, and Italian prisoners of war. Letters 
and post cards in large quantities were written in the place. The 
British and French prisoners invariably brought food supplies 
from the camp and ate their lunch in the Foyer, as it was the only 
place where they could get together in this manner. Something 
similar was attempted in Dresden and in Munich on behalf of the 
prisoners who came to those cities. 

The lack of discipline and the attendant disorder in the camps 
which resulted from the complete lifting of the lid, so to speak, 
was especially hard on the men in the hospitals. Influenza was 
running its course through many of these and, with the overthrow 
of the superiors, doctors and medical attention no longer were 
provided. We did all in our power, in cooperation with the medi- 
cal men among the prisoners themselves, to provide adequate 
medical supplies for the treatment of the invalids. 

We needed abundant help during those days, for the various 
military missions called upon us time and again for assistance 
and advice as well as information regarding the location of prison 
camps and their organization. Among the American officers who 
were prisoners were three who had been in Y M C A service. On 
petitioning the Government, we received permission for their im- 
mediate release from the. prison camp. All three of them came 
to Berlin, and in conjunction with the military commission visited 
the different prison camps, reporting back on the conditions which 
they found. In Bavaria our secretary was utilized extensively in 
arranging for the transportation and repatriation of many of the 
British invalid prisoners in the camps of that kingdom. Those 
were busy days for all of us, and yet days full of joy, because we 
knew that at last the hope of the men was fulfilled and they were 
homeward bound. Needless to say, it was difficult for them to be 



198 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

patient, and call after call reached us for word as to when they 
were to be sent home. 

Mr. Husband of the American Red Gross was early on the 
ground; through him all initial arrangements were made for the 
assembling of the American prisoners, preparatory to their re- 
patriation. The majority of these were at Rastatt, but some 
200 to 300 were scattered about the entire country and had to be 
assembled before they could be repatriated. 

On November 26th I went to the American officers' camp at 
Villingen for a farewell visit before their repatriation. The fol- 
lowing is quoted from a letter written that day: 

"This morning I was up bright and early, returning to camp 
Villingen to say good-by to the American officers who were 
scheduled to leave the following morning, Tuesday, November 
27th, at 5:25 A. m. After making arrangements for the disposal of 
the various supplies which we had furnished them, I hurried back 
to town in order to make my train for Rastatt. Just at present we 
are winding in and out through innumerable tunnels in the beau- 
tiful hill country of the Black Forest. The chug-chug of the engine 
indicates that we are going up a pretty steep grade. The pic- 
turesque farm cottages lend additional charm to the already mag- 
nificent scenery. This morning fleecy snowflakes fell listlessly,, 
covering the entire landscape with a downy white mantle. All 
along the roads interminably long colonnades of troops are 
marching, in an effort to get out of the left Rhine zone and the 
neutral zone within the prescribed time limit of the armistice 
conditions. The spirit of the men is surprisingly happy for a 
retreating and defeated army. They are all singing 'In der 
Heimat, in der Heimat da gibt's ein Wiedersehen' (In the home- 
land, in the homeland, there we shall meet again). It is evident 
that they are all mighty glad that the War is over, no matter 
what the outcome. 

"All villages and cities along the line of march are elaborately 
decorated with paper bunting, flags, pine boughs, and the like. 
Arches with appropriate words of welcome and greeting mark 
the entrance to the villages and cities. The soldiers all have 
boutonnih-es, no doubt given them by fair damsels along the line. 
The whole scene seems like the triumphal march home of a 
victorious army which has scored a big success, rather than the 



READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 199 

return from a lost war. Troops, wagons of every description, 
cannon, gun carriages, and kitchens are all decorated with flags 
and streamers; pine trees with paper flowers, etc., are very much 
in evidence; everywhere the red of the revolution predominates in 
the colors displayed. One sees none of the stiff goose-stepping 
discipline or of the salutation of the officers, formerly the common 
thing. Instead, there seems to be a new camaraderie and all- 
round good-fellowship. Officers, in fact, seem to have disappeared 
and distinctions of rank apparently exist no more. On the whole 
the troops seem happy and glad. The disappointment which the 
loss of the War would have normally occasioned seems completely 
obliterated by the victory achieved in internal affairs, liberty for 
the people." 

On my return to Berlin from this trip to Rastatt I became 
conscious of the disorder and lack of discipline that had taken 
possession of the armies since the displacement of their austere 
officers. Frankfurt-am-Main seemed to be a center for all troops 
coming from the west front. From that point the troops were 
redistributed, by the innumerable railways entering that point, 
to the interior of Germany. All outgoing trains north and east 
were jammed to the limit with a struggling, scrambling mass of 
soldiers and their field baggage. One had to fight his way in order 
to get on one of these departing trains. Windows were broken 
and men lifted in through the windows — anything merely to get 
aboard. Thus it was that I was jammed into a compartment with 
twelve other persons and baggage galore. No attempt was made 
to collect railway tickets, for it was impossible for any individual 
to get through one of the cars. The trip required forty-eight 
hours, though in normal times I had made the same trip in twelve 
hours. Such was the condition of the railways in these days when 
the thousands of troops were returning from the front, all of 
them anxious to get home just as quickly as possible and to dis- 
card the much hated uniform which they had been compelled to 
wear during the past four trying years. 

It was during these days that the respective military commis- 
sions of the Allied countries came into Germany to arrange for the 
repatriation of their prisoners of war. British, French, Italians, 
Belgians, and Americans were all looked after. The Russians, 
however, who had suffered most, were still neglected and their 



200 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

condition was most heart-rending. One of our secretaries who 
visited the camps of Sprottau, Lamsdorf, and Neuhammer, 
where large numbers of tubercular Russians were congregated, 
wrote at the time that the sight of their suffering was unendur- 
able. There seemed to be no mercy shown these men, unfor- 
tunate victims of a system for which they had been in no way 
responsible. 

In other camps the conditions were most chaotic. All prisoners 
from working commandos, when they heard the news of possible 
early repatriation, nocked immediately to their parent camps, 
fearing that they would be forgotten if they remained on the 
working detachments. The Russians, believing that they, too, 
were to be repatriated, swarmed to the camps and by their over- 
whelming numbers threatened to crowd out the other nationali- 
ties. The camps, needless to say, did not have food supplies for 
this sudden influx of thousands of men, and shelter in all was 
entirely inadequate. Efforts were at once made to get the British 
and most of the French prisoners in the north of Germany to the 
Baltic ports for transportation to England and France and those 
in the south of Germany shipped by railroad to Switzerland and 
from there on to France and their homes. To prevent suffering, 
however, it was necessary to arrange at these points proper 
housing facilities for the men. This was impossible at the time, 
and the next best plan was to transform some of the prison camps 
near the outgoing points into concentration camps for prisoners 
prior to their departure. A special transport service was imme- 
diately arranged between German and Danish ports, but the 
transport facilities from Denmark to England were entirely 
inadequate, so that it was necessary in Germany to slow down 
the transportation of the prisoners in order to prevent congestion 
in Copenhagen. 

At Danzig, 20,000 to 30,000 Russian prisoners, maddened by 
hunger and the desire to get home which had been so long frus- 
trated, stormed and took possession of four of the ships in the 
harbor which had been secured by the British military commis- 
sion for the transportation of British prisoners. The situation 
with reference to the Russians was further aggravated by the 
fact that Russia refused to permit these prisoners access to Russia. 
The result was that the prisoners who had left camp and started 




Gymnastics by British Prisoners, Gottingen 



School fob Russians, Worms 



READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 201 

home were congregated in the east of Germany where they be- 
came a serious menace to local law and order; but, worse, many 
were victims of starvation, for there was no food for them. Alarm 
calls were received by the War Ministry from towns in the far 
east of Germany asking for troops to protect the towns in ques- 
tion from the marauding bands of these prisoners let loose who, 
maddened by hunger, stopped at nothing to secure food. In 
many of the camps where authority had been usurped by the 
German guards who had driven their superiors from the camp 
our secretaries were appealed to for assistance, not only by the 
guards, but by the prisoners as well. Without the proper leader- 
ship, organization was quickly lost and chaotic conditions arose 
in the camps. Thus it was that our representatives were fre- 
quently called in and literally requested to take complete charge 
of the camp in question, for prisoners and German guards alike 
seemed utterly helpless to cope with the situation. 

As the days and weeks went on and little evidence of immediate 
repatriation was apparent, the prisoners became dangerously im- 
patient. It was not an easy task to arrange for the repatriation 
of several hundred thousands of prisoners of war scattered through- 
out Germany, but obviously each prisoner expected to be the first 
one to be sent home, and when this did not occur he made trouble. 
Usually the Germans were blamed for the delay by the prisoners, 
who failed to realize that the Germans had little if anything to 
say regarding the matter, and forgot the bigness and difficulty 
of the task involved. Thus it was that the French prisoners in 
one camp sent an ultimatum to the authorities of the near-by 
town, to the effect that if their repatriation was not begun within 
twenty-four hours they would revolt and storm the city. The 
town telegraphed to the War Ministry for troops. The War 
Ministry in turn appealed to us to send our representative, in the 
hope that he might appease the prisoners and explain the situation. 

The fact that we were called upon illustrates how utterly help- 
less the authorities were. We must remember that during the 
days of the revolution the transference of the supreme command 
to an organization in charge of Soldiers and Workmen's Councils 
took place not only in the prison camps and garrisons, but also in 
the War Ministry, Foreign Office, and similar headquarters. Those 
who had usurped power soon realized that they were not equal to 



202 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the situation and that they were unqualified to solve the many 
complications involved in such positions, and one by one the 
former officers who had been expelled were petitioned to return — 
not, however, in their former capacity, but as advisory executives, 
final authority to rest with the representative of the Soldiers' or 
Workmen's Council who had been placed in charge. It was in- 
teresting to note the developments along this line. Though 
immediately after the overthrow of the Government all official 
documents were signed only by the representative of the Work- 
men's or Soldiers' Council, it was not long before the former 
officers who had been called in in an advisory capacity were also 
requested to sign all orders issued, and soon after it frequently 
occurred that orders of this character were signed by the former 
official only. On one of the permits issued to me during these 
days the stamp of the War Ministry of the old Government was 
employed, but some loyal revolutionist office clerk had pains- 
takingly crossed with a red pencil the royal eagle and the word 
"royal" on the impression made on my permit. 

A letter written at this time describes the existing conditions: 

December 7th. 

"Last night and today have been critical so far as the local 
political situation is concerned. A shooting fracas last night 
between followers of the so-called Spartacist group and the 
present government troops resulted in some twenty-seven deaths. 
Today word was spread that the Spartacist group had called a 
general strike. Machine guns were mounted in all prominent 
places in Unter den Linden. Armored motor trucks hurried up 
and down the streets, which were patroled by armed squads and 
detachments of soldiers and sailors. About noon there were a 
number of processions made up of employes from different fac- 
tories in and about Berlin, but nowhere were they of any con- 
siderable dimensions, and all were most quiet and orderly, so that 
no serious disturbances resulted. Trouble, however, is expected 
tomorrow, in view of the large public meetings which have been 
scheduled by the various political parties that have sprung into 
prominence since the revolution. 

"Among the interesting phenomena which have appeared since 
the revolution are the innumerable debating groups that gather 



READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 203 

in the streets everywhere. Two individuals will usually begin to 
discuss the situation and immediately others crowd around and 
join in the discussion, which usually becomes extremely heated 
before many minutes pass. At times one is led to believe that 
these groups have been systematically arranged by the Spartacists 
as a means for carrying on their propaganda, for invariably the 
debate is an argument on the pros and cons of the principles of 
the Spartacists, and usually ends in favor of the individual who 
represents those principles. Needless to say, the conservative 
Junker or Pan-Germanist is utterly out of sympathy and opposes 
to the limit the radical ideas of the Spartacists, and where such 
an individual gets into an argument with a Spartacist the debate 
is carried on at a feverish temperature. 

"Another interesting phenomenon is the handbill and poster 
nuisance which has developed since the revolution. The streets 
are littered with a hundred and one different types of handbills 
issued by the different parties. During the last few days aero- 
planes have been used for distributing these over the city. Public 
buildings are plastered as high as can be reached with glaring 
placards announcing public meetings of the different political 
parties; even the former palace of the Emperor is not respected. 

"The troops that started out from Berlin are to return from the 
west front the end of next week and further trouble is expected. 
On the whole, the soldiers are back of the present Government, 
for it is they who largely caused the overthrow of the old regime, 
and one is hopeful that the common sense of the reasonable peo- 
ple will be sufficiently powerful to prevent more serious trouble. 
The food situation is bad, but not critical as yet. Naturally, 
everyone is counting strongly on the importation of supplies from 
the United States. It is truly remarkable with what childish 
trust and confidence the German people (not the Government) 
now look to the U. S. A. to come to the rescue. It presents a 
great opportunity to instill the American spirit into this people 
just coming out from a state of bondage and beginning to stretch 
its muscles, as it were, feeling the invigorating touch of freedom 
and liberty. One has wonderful opportunities to watch the de- 
velopment of the democratic spirit in Germany these days. Just 
at present she is in a plastic condition with any number of potters, 
each of whom is endeavoring to give the future Government of 



204 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the country its own characteristic mold. Rabid socialism, ap- 
proximating the worst kind of anarchism, is feverishly trying to 
get the upper hand. Placards, processions, mass meetings, calling 
of strikes, and violence are her methods. The more sane socialism 
is expending its energies in counteracting the dangerous agitation 
of the above Bolshevik group, and thereby neglecting or forfeit- 
ing the opportunity to work constructively because of its pre- 
occupation. 

"The monarchists are assuming the 'I told you so' attitude. 
One frequently hears the Berlin citizen on street cars and street 
corners grumbling about the chaotic conditions that prevail. 
Then one hears one of the monarchists reply with words some- 
thing to this effect: 'That is what you get in a democracy. It is 
what you wanted.' The result is that unconsciously in the hearts 
of many there is a longing for the old-time law and order, the 
security, prosperity, and the like which it must be conceded the 
old form of government gave the people. This dissatisfaction is 
being capitalized by the nationalistic press. 

"The returning soldiers are siding with the present Government, 
but their support is a matter of time. Internal disorder which the 
present Government seems unable to solve — the many soldiers' 
councils are like the proverbial 'too many cooks spoiling the 
broth' — is likely to result in food troubles, at least in the big 
cities, for hungry soldiers are always a menace to any community 
or country. Spiritual values and spiritual terms have been 
crowded out by the material interests. The armistice deals with 
tho material — so much land to be evacuated, so many submarines, 
so many guns, so many locomotives and railroad cars, so many 
millions indemnity — and here within the country all centers 
around the food question and the danger to personal property 
from the general disorganization. Taxation, confiscation by the 
Government of property, nullification of the war loan certificates 
and bonds — these are the subjects occupying the minds of the 
people. Discussion of the reconstruction of the country is all on 
material lines, dealing with such subjects as the resumption of 
foreign trade, industrial rejuvenation, importation of raw prod- 
ucts, railway reconstruction, and methods for increasing the 
food production of the country. The spiritual view of life so 
essential for a healthy people is thus being crowded out and rele- 



READJUSTMENT TO THE NEW ORDER 205 

gated to the background by the seemingly more pressing and 
urgent material interests. 

"The German Church with her German God has been dealt a 
deathblow by the revolution, just as other feudal conceptions 
which were prevalent here up to November first of this year have 
been exterminated, I hope for all time. At present there is no 
church here worthy of the name. The fall of the Kaiser and the 
system of Prussian militarism of which he was the exponent 
automatically necessitated the fall of the German Church, which 
was part and parcel of the system the Kaiser created. For the 
Church of the Universal God which endures and will arise new- 
born out of the present chaos, it is good that the old is dead. It 
may be of interest to know that during the War the pastors of 
the old German Church invariably received from their superiors 
the Bible text on which they were to preach the following Sunday, 
and which, especially in the case of nationalistic themes, was 
accompanied by a suggested outline for handling it. It is thus 
evident how efficiently the Church served the State as a mouth- 
piece. That the old order changeth and a new order shall arise, 
seems to be true not only in the political life of Germany, but 
also in its spiritual life. Just at present, however, the situation 
seems utterly hopeless, for leadership is lacking and a new church 
will be greatly handicapped by the prevalent prejudice against 
the old one. 

"Freedom of the press and freedom of public meetings have 
given the forces of evil free reign, which they are utilizing to the 
fullest capacity. Last night I went down Friedrich Street, the 
cafe' and cabaret center, and came away shuddering. It was a 
filthy lane through a slough of immorality. The War's four 
years of concentration on the material interests of the body, with 
little if any strengthening spiritual influence, have resulted in a 
frightful moral degeneration. It is to be hoped that a reaction 
may soon set in. Consciousness of the awful depths in which 
the nation has wallowed must bring sooner or later a feeling of 
abhorrence, contrition, repentance, and a search for the power 
which will bring freedom from evil and the strength to over- 
come. Let us hope that this reawakening may soon take place 
and that there may be wise, sympathetic, and loving leadership 
when it occurs." 



206 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

The following is quoted from a letter written December 28th : 
"Tomorrow afternoon we are arranging a little Christmas cele- 
bration in a Berlin hospital where there are some 300 wounded 
prisoners, including two Americans and sixty-five Britishers. The 
American and British generals who are here as representative 
heads of the two repatriation commissions are both planning to 
attend the celebration. Our Y M C A rooms for the prisoners 
are proving utterly inadequate so far as space is concerned. 
Sunday over 1,800 men visited the place and over 2,000 cups of 
tea were served. It is not easy to handle so many in quarters 
that will seat only fifty men at any one time. We had planned 
to take a much larger place, but there seemed to be difficulties 
in the way, especially in view of the short time this service will 
be necessary. As it is, the American Red Triangle has made its 
first official appearance here in Berlin. It is remarkable what a 
heterogeneous crowd of prisoners come to our Foyer- — British, 
French, Italians, Roumanians, Serbs, Senegalese. Our ladies' 
committee is becoming most enthusiastic and is doing excellent 
work. From three to five hundred letters are written a day by 
the prisoners who come to the Foyer. The letters are forwarded 
through official couriers of the various commissions to the home- 
lands of the men, and hence reach their destination much more 
quickly than would otherwise be possible." 



CHAPTER XX 
SIGNS OF SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION 

Meantime events continued to take place in rapid succession, 
which all had a marked effect on the development of the new 
German Government. Freedom of speech and of the press gave 
opportunity for all the radical elements to carry on extensive 
agitation and propaganda. 

The "Rote Fahne" (Red Flag) appeared as the official organ of 
the Spartacists, the "Freiheit" (Freedom — Liberty) of the Inde- 
pendent Socialist Party. An especially licentious paper was the 
pink sheet known as the "Galgen" (Gallows), which made its 
appearance under license of the freedom of the press that was 
granted as a result of the revolution. 

It soon became evident that the Russians during their short 
period of diplomatic relations with Germany had utilized the 
time in sowing the seeds of anarchy and Bolshevism throughout 
the country. The Spartacist Party had appeared with the revo- 
lution and was proving a dangerous menace to the whole cause 
of the new German Republic. Strike after strike occurred, largely 
incited by this party, each with its demands for higher wages and 
shorter hours. The new Government was struggling to maintain 
its own under trying and difficult circumstances. The armistice 
terms had proved far more severe than anticipated. As talk 
about the peace terms progressed it was realized that they would 
be unusually harsh, from the standpoint of the Germans. Food 
conditions left much to be desired. Disorganization resulting 
from the overthrow threatened the supply of food for the large 
cities. Strenuous efforts were inaugurated to maintain this 
supply; these were fairly successful. Thus not once throughout 
the revolution was I refused my weekly loaf of bread on presen- 
tation of my card. 

The week following the proclamation of the German revolution 
I called at the police office of the precinct in which I lived, to re- 
port as usual as an enemy alien. The clerk in charge simply 
waved my papers aside, remarking that such red tape was no 

207 



208 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

longer necessary; this was one of many evidences of how quickly 
the people gave up old, long-accustomed regulations for the new 
freedom which was possible under the new regime. The pendu- 
lum was swinging from one extreme to the other. 

Immediately after the armistice the troops scattered for their 
homes. In the Entente papers one spoke of the demobilization 
of the German armies. Aside from the last few divisions to cross 
the Rhine in accordance with the armistice terms there was no 
such thjng as organized demobilization; it was one wild pell-mell 
rush, each soldier getting home as best he could and as quickly 
as possible. Berlin was swamped by the overflow. Incoming 
trains loaded to their utmost capacity brought thousands addi- 
tional. The community kitchens were requisitioned to provide 
for these men. The garrisons were thrown open to provide night 
quarters and other accommodations. The Government sought to 
give each man his papers of release from army service, as well as 
to provide him with the necessary food cards to carry him on a 
week or so until he was located in his home or permanent com- 
munity. Efforts were made to provide each soldier with a civilian 
suit of clothes, but clothing had become unusually scarce during 
the last years of the War, so that many were turned away or 
were given a uniform rather than the civilian suit desired. As 
a result, the field gray of the German uniform became the color 
most in vogue. The large bolts of army cloth in the quarter- 
master's department were cut up and offered for sale, in order 
to provide not only men, but women as well, with sufficient 
clothing for the coming winter. Women's coats, men's suits and 
ulsters, and children's suits and cloaks, were all of the same gray- 
green color. 

On December 24th I wrote as follows: 

"This morning I was witness of a real battle, with machine 
guns and large caliber cannon stationed all around our office 
and aimed at the royal palace. Some 600 revolutionary sailors 
who had become disgruntled at the pay given them by the Govern- 
ment they had pledged to support revolted and, after capturing 
various prominent officials whom they held as hostages for the 
fulfilment of their demands, intrenched themselves in the royal 
palace and the royal stables. 




Salesroom of Handicraft Made by Prisoners at Cottbus 




Basket Weavers in Handicraft Department, Cottbus 



SIGNS OF SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION 209 

"The cannonading began at eight a. m., just as I approached 
our office, continuing until ten-thirty, when a truce was declared. 
The palace is pretty badly shot up, especially the main entrance 
on the Unter den Linden side. There were several killed and 
wounded, although one does not know the losses of the sailors. 
The decisive and firm action taken by the government troops in 
putting an end to this disturbance is encouraging. I hope it 
means an end to similar fanatical attempts at anarchy on the 
part of a few. No doubt there will be scathing criticism of the 
Government from those whose sentimental sympathy has been 
aroused by the death of the sailors. This will be fanned into a 
flame by the Spartacist crowd, who are fighting the Government 
at every step. The air is tense with expectancy as to immediate 
developments. The fighting has somehow completely destroyed 
all Christmas spirit. It all seems so horrible and absurd that 
now that the War is over internal strife should begin. Possibly 
it may mean the occupation of Berlin by Entente troops, which, 
by the way, many Germans frankly admit they desire." 

December 29th. 

"Today was a momentous one. The various political parties 
had scheduled mass demonstrations, the Social Democrats as a 
protest against the use of force by the Spartacist and sailor group, 
and the latter as a condemnation of the murderous action of the 
Social Democratic Party, at present the party in power. The 
objective of the demonstrations was lost in the extravagant efforts 
put forth by both parties to secure the greater number of people 
to parade with them. The Spartacist group had the advantage 
so far as drawing cards were concerned, for they had scheduled 
as a feature of their demonstration the burial of the victims of 
the battle last Tuesday. 

"Naturally, the deep undertow of the whole is serious and of 
world-wide consequence. What one saw, however, was like the 
surface spray which accompanies the undertow. At present the 
people are in the drunken stage of newly won liberties, and excess 
and abuse occur. It is hard to conceive that conditions and events 
such as occurred here today are really possible in this country. At 
times one becomes dubious of the possibility of recuperation and 
resurrection. Everything points toward disintegration, ruin, and 



210 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

stagnation of industry. Danger of Bolshevism exists, but I be- 
lieve the common sense of the majority will carry the day." 

January 1st. 

"On all the public buildings one still sees the flags which were 
so proudly hoisted some two months ago as an emblem of the 
success of the revolution. Now they are all tattered and torn. 
The winds and storms of the past months have beaten them into 
shreds, in some cases nothing remaining but a few strands to 
identify them as one-time flags. To me they are very typical and 
symbolic of the present state of the once proud Germany. She, 
too, has been violently buffeted about the past two months. 
Defeated on the outside most disastrously, forsaken by all her 
former allies, torn and battered by internal dissension and dis- 
organization, she lies prostrate, an unrecognizable remnant of her 
former self. One wonders whether she will be able to survive 
and ever to recuperate. 

"No doubt you have formulated an exaggerated picture of the 
conditions which prevail here. True, they are bad when one 
compares them with conditions in former days, but on the whole 
life and business and industry to a certain degree continue more 
or less normally. Up to date I have never been compelled to walk 
to the office and have never been turned away from the bakery 
when I went to buy my weekly loaf of bread, even during the 
fever-heated days of the revolution. Nor have I experienced in 
any way additional inconveniences other than those which have 
always prevailed in the past year or two. 

"In the east the advance of the Poles is assuming threatening 
proportions. The newspapers even talk of an advance on Berlin. 
Internally the respective provinces or former kingdoms are fight- 
ing for independence and separation from Prussia. Whether a 
United States of Germany is possible seems problematical. The 
Bolshevik propaganda continued to sow seeds of dissension and 
social disintegration. At times it seems like an epidemic whose 
ravages the Government is powerless to stop, and from the man- 
ner in which it is taking hold here one is forced to question whether 
it will not spread over the entire world. The Government in 
power here must exert radical, energetic efforts immediately if it 
is to prevent the spread of Bolshevism in Germany, 



SIGNS OF SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION 211 

January 3rd. 

"On New Year's Eve all the waiters in the hotels and restaurants 
and cafes went on strike. You can imagine what that meant for 
the pleasure-seekers that night. The waiters are still on strike. 
It seems strange to see all the cafes closed and empty where 
ordinarily so much life centers. It is just another sign of the 
times. 

"On January 19th, a Sunday by the way, the first general elec- 
tion of the new democracy, with equal suffrage for all men and 
women of age, is scheduled to take place. At present a most 
active campaign is being carried on by the respective political 
parties in the field. Placards and bills announcing the platforms 
of the various parties are being circulated in avalanche heaps. 
Political meetings are the order of the day. An interesting series 
of meetings is thus being held by the respective parties to educate 
the women regarding the ins and outs of the voting process. One 
wonders what influence the women's vote will exert here in the 
land where the wife is referred to in the law books as the 'house- 
keeper' and where she has usually been regarded as something 
inferior to the man. 

"One who is not witness of the disintegration which has oc- 
curred here will with difficulty conceive of what has actually 
taken place in the land where discipline and obedience were the 
order of the day. Street peddlers by the hundreds line the side- 
walks on all the prominent streets selling the 'real' (humbug) 
type of goods, most of which I presume represents booty brought 
back from the front or taken in the many robberies which are 
occurring in the city. Cigarettes, bonbons, soap, shoestrings, 
matches, sausages, cakes — everything imaginable is sold by these 
street peddlers. Beggars are abundant and no doubt include 
many fictitious soldiers who, by wearing a soldier's uniform or 
having a leg or arm bandaged, appeal to the charity of the 
passers-by and invariably succeed in securing help from them. 
It is reported that many of these street beggars often obtain as 
high as 300 marks a day in small sums which passers-by throw 
to them in sympathy for their apparent disablement and suffer- 
ing. As in Vienna, so in Berlin many a woman appears on the 
street corners most shabbily dressed, holding a child in her 
arms and perhaps one by the hand at her side, and in this way 



212 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

arouses the sympathy of passers-by. I understand that recently 
the Government has taken steps to put an end to this malicious 
type of begging. It is all the more surprising in Berlin, for in 
peace times one never saw a beggar, and rarely a promiscuous 
street peddler such as has become the order of the day since the 
revolution. 

"Similarly, at all railway stations official baggage men as well 
as official taxis and cabs were formerly available. These have 
given way to a vagabond type; busses, wagons rigged up with 
board seats, and every imaginable type of vehicle, are present, 
their owners yelling at the incoming travelers in the hope of 
getting them as passengers. Autos and cabs may be scarce, but 
every other kind of rig is available. 

"Tobacco is almost a minus quantity now. Perhaps that fact 
accounts for the presence of old men and women who go up and 
down the streets, especially at those places where the cars stop. 
They carry little dirty gray bags and one sees them every now 
and then stooping to pick up something. On closer investigation 
one discovers that they are collecting all the discarded cigar 
stubs and cigarette ends. Involuntarily I think of the book of 
poems entitled 'Pipe Dreams,' and of the visions in the blue 
smoke from the cigars or smoking tobacco made from this abom- 
inably filthy refuse, for the cigar stubs reappear in resplendent 
cigars or packages of smoking tobacco. 

"Groups — at times they assume the proportions of hordes — of 
unkempt and ill-clad men, are frequently seen; they represent 
part of the thousands without work. According to the latest 
statistics there are at present approximately 100,000 men in 
Berlin without work. You know enough of big city life to realize 
what a problem that means, and as February approaches food is 
becoming increasingly scarce and all fear trouble from these 
men. The city, through the various labor organizations, is pay- 
ing all unemployed men a rather high stipendium during their 
non-employment, the rate depending upon the size of the man's 
family. A man with six children is thus able to secure thirteen 
marks a day, whereas if he worked he would at most get twenty 
marks for his services. It thus happens that many a man prefers ■ 
to accept the municipal stipendium and by street peddling on 
his own part as well as that oi bis children he is able to get far 



SIGNS OF SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION 213 

more than if he were regularly employed. It is estimated that 
Berlin alone in the course of one month paid out as high as 20,- 
000,000 marks to so-called unemployed laborers in its precincts. 
The municipal government has endeavored to modify this pen- 
sion scheme for the non-employed, realizing that it is fostering 
vagrancy rather than proving a help to the community, but the 
threatening attitude of the unemployed when a proposed reduc- 
tion in the remuneration is made is sufficient to cause the con- 
tinuation of the compensation on the original basis. 

"With the growing scarcity of meat supplies such as beef, 
mutton, and pork, goats had been drafted into the service and 
large numbers were raised and slaughtered in order to supple- 
ment the meat supply. For the manufacture of sausage goats 
as well as fowl of all kinds were utilized. Sausages thus made 
were sold at fabulous prices and only the well-to-do could afford 
to buy them, although many of the poorer class with no other 
meat supply available would purchase them in spite of the high 
prices. As the War continued the sausage manufacturers had 
increasing difficulty in securing adequate supplies of fowl, goat, 
and rabbit meat. No doubt the realization that such meat was 
scarce was responsible for the rumors that were circulated, to the 
effect that dog, cat, and even infant meat was being used in the 
manufacture of sausage. Such malicious libel was resented most 
vigorously by the goat meat sausage manufacturers, who felt 
called upon to go so far as to offer a public explanation in the 
newspapers denying the report that they were using dog, cat, 
and infant meat in the manufacture of their sausage. This 
appeared in the newspapers as a half-page announcement. 

"Clothing and shoes are sadly lacking. Most men are still 
wearing their field uniforms and overcoats, in some cases slightly 
remodeled to give a civilian appearance. 

"In my last letter I wrote you about the tattered and torn 
flags. Apparently someone else has also noticed them, for today 
an official notice was published in which the people were urged 
to remove them from the buildings. 

"The two socialistic parties have declared war against one 
another. Up to date they have been united, and largely because 
of the union have had sufficient strength to accomplish the over- 
throw which resulted during the revolutionary days. At the 



214 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

present time there are three such parties, the Social Democrats, 
the Independent Social Democrats, the group which has broken 
away from the socialistic block, and the Spartacists or Bolshevik 
element. The latter have declared their intention of preventing 
and breaking up the general election scheduled for the 19th, so 
it is possible we shall have trouble prior to that date. The old 
Centrum Party, clerical, has reappeared as the Christian People's 
Party, and is trying by this clever ruse to align the Protestants 
with them, claiming that the country for its salvation needs united 
action on the part of all Christians. As a matter of fact, the plat- 
form of the Centrum Party is retained in spite of the changed 
name. In all probability the Social Democrats will win out, 
although the internal strife with the Independents may cause a 
split in the party and give the victory at the elections to some one 
of the old conservative parties." 



CHAPTER XXI 
FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OF BERLIN 

I wrote a letter on January 6th as follows: 

"Today serious trouble has been brewing here, trouble which I 
fear will spread throughout the country if not throughout the 
world, now that it is gaining such marked headway here. Imme- 
diate and drastic measures must be resorted to if this is to be 
prevented. Bolshevism made its debut here today, not as a mod- 
est debutante, but boldly, insolently, full of ominous threats to 
depose the present social order and to inaugurate what is sure to 
prove a reign of terror. One has been aware for weeks that Bol- 
shevik propaganda has been fanatically, quietly at work, sowing 
seeds of dissension and rebellion; but those who should have been 
most vigilantly checkmating every move of this dangerous ele- 
ment apparently failed to secure adequate resources or were 
ignorant of the possible dangers. 

"The present crisis originated on Saturday, when the Govern- 
ment in power issued an order calling for the immediate removal 
from office of the police president of Berlin. It seems that the 
president had utilized his position as a means to further the 
Bolshevik propaganda of his party, the Spartacist group, and 
what is more, did so with funds contributed by the Russian 
Bolsheviki. The Government's order was insolently ignored and 
the occasion made the most of by the Spartacists or Reds, as they 
are known here. The Reds immediately scheduled a number of 
big protest mass meetings for the following day at noon. The 
utmost was done to arouse thoroughly the dissatisfied elements 
of the masses, of whom there are many, and to incite them to 
strike and to armed revolt against the so-termed high-handed 
action of the Government. Needless to say, thousands upon thou- 
sands of the people turned out. It is easy in these days of unrest 
to drum up a large crowd on the most trivial provocation. After 
the speeches a parade was started to give vent to the pent-up 

215 



216 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

feelings of the crowd, fanned into flame by the very adept speak- 
ers whom the Spartacists had employed. The whole culminated 
in the evening in a series of armed attacks on all conservative and 
government newspaper printing establishments, and their sub- 
sequent possession by the Spartacists. This morning no other 
papers than those of the Reds were to be had. Even the official 
Wolf's Telegraph Bureau had been occupied, so that all the news 
from Berlin for the immediate future will be of the radical Red 
or Bolshevik type. All the morning issues of the few papers which 
appeared contained big headlines calling out the soldiers and 
factory hands to assemble at eleven a. m. in the Sieges-Allee, 
where they are to form a procession and march down Unter den 
Linden as a protest against the Government. The objectives oi 
the whole are the overthrow of the Government and the preven- 
tion of the election for the National Assembly scheduled for the 
19th of January. Apparently as soon as the government party, 
the Majority Socialists, who are frequently referred to as the 
Whites, learned of this Spartacist coup they immediately got 
busy and by telephone or other available means, for they did 
not have access to the newspapers, called a counter demonstra- 
tion to assemble in front of the Chancellor's residence in the 
Wilhelmstrasse; and thus the stage was set for trouble. 

"As eleven o'clock approached, everything became tense with 
excitement. Intuitively one felt that trouble must surely result 
when the two groups of demonstrators met, as they were bound 
to do in the course of their processions. The atmosphere seemed 
hot with the determination that was evident on both sides. Rarely 
have I seen such masses of humanity as those which gathered in 
Wilhelmstrasse and which continued to come from all directions, in 
response to the Government's call for a counter demonstration. 
There seemed no end to them. They came in groups, each with 
placards, some indicating the firm of which they were employes 
and others announcing their support of the Government. 1 
mingled with the crowd, in order to sense the whole more fully, 
Everywhere small groups were gathered about men and women 
who were hotly debating pro and con the political' situation. 

Here, too, I saw W , an American newspaper man, with three 

assistants and a moving-picture machine on the lookout for some 
good pictures, of which there were a plenty. 




1 ASSAULT AT AK MS 




RUMLEkEN PHYSICAL CULTURE 
ASSOCIATION 





DPn iDPOftDAMMFI tffi 



i. Exhibition of Bail (\znching Mr.J.Sharber& 

1. Wrestling, Mr-Gosnold v. Mk.G.Ci/rrie. 

3 -FENCING — 

I. Mfi.G.W.ANDREWS V. Mr.&.C.PETHER. 

Z MR.We.D'ALBERT v. Mr. H.S. HATFIELD. 

3 Ma HS.HATFIELD v. MR &.W ANDREWS, 

f Mr.G.C.PETHER v. Ms-W.E.D'ALBERT. 

80UTS OF THREE. MINUTES EACH. 

BOXING. 

AMATEUR SCHOOL OF BOXING § RUHLEBEN BOXINC CLUB. 



1. Mr. I SHARBER6 

2. Mr. 6.SMITH 

3 Mr T. SUiLIVAN J«* 

4 MRR.H.PEOO/E 

J: MR.E. WILLIAMS 

6 Mr.KCOPELAND 

7. MR- W.HEWITT 

8. Mr. J. CORNWALL. 



Vf MR. F. FAIRGLOTH .- R.BC. 
v. Mr. F.DINSE. - R.B.C. 
u Mr. MLONGLEY.- A.S.B. 

* M«.J. DONOGHOE.-A.S.B. 
•■. M«. W.MAURICE.- R.B.C. 
/. Mr.E.HERLIHY.-R.B.O. 

/. MR.E. farmer.- a.s.b. 
*; MR. F.WILDE - A.S.B. 



TWO ROUNDS OF ONE MINUTE EACH.LAST ROUND TWO MINUTES. 

M.C Mr. Tom Sljllimn. 

COMMENCE AT 6-15. 



FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OF BERLIN 217 

"In Unter den Linden the Reds were marching toward the 
Sieges-Allee, their assembling place. Placards, most of them very 
crudely made and predominantly red in color, were displayed 
throughout the marching columns. There seemed to be more 
women than men in the processions of both parties, significant 
of the fact that the women are playing an important role in the 
whole disturbance and without doubt will be an important politi- 
cal factor henceforth in Germany. Yells were repeatedly heard, 
such as 'Down with the bloodhounds, Ebert and Scheidemann,' 
and 'Hoch Liebknecht' from the Reds, and 'Down with Lieb- 
knecht' and 'Hoch die Regierung' as answering echoes from the 
Whites. Shortly before reaching the Brandenburg Gate a group 
of the Reds burned a large number of handbills which were being 
circulated by the Whites. This was very formally done and one 
was reminded of the burning of the papal bull of excommunication 
by Luther. Toward eleven-thirty the assembled throngs of both 
parties formed in definite procession and started their march, the 
Reds coming from the Sieges-Allee through the Brandenburg 
Arch, down Unter den Linden, passing the Hotel Adlon; the 
Whites approaching from Leipziger Street down Wilhelmstrasse 
toward Unter den Linden. Trouble was unavoidable whenever 
the two lines of marchers should meet at the crossing of Unter 
den Linden and Wilhelmstrasse. I luckily had a good vantage 
point at this place and so witnessed the whole scene which 
ensued. 

"The Reds reached the corner first and continued down Unter 
den Linden. As the Whites approached they stopped, for a time 
unable to break through the marching columns of the Reds; but 
the crowds pushing on from behind soon caused a break in the 
march of the Reds. Shouting, swearing, scrambling, and hand- 
to-hand fighting ensued, and the White line succeeded in sever- 
ing the Red column and continuing its march down Wilhelm- 
strasse. However, it was not long before the Reds, undaunted, 
forced their way through the White column and continued their 
march triumphantly. Again the Whites forced their way through ; 
another fisticuff fight was developing when suddenly a group of 
Reds appeared with raised rifles, apparently meaning business 
and prepared to shoot if any further opposition from the Whites 
was experienced. Needless to say the crowds broke up and fled 



218 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

precipitately in all directions, and I among them. No actual 
shooting occurred at this juncture. It certainly was a dramatic 
situation, to say the very least. 

"The procession of the Reds continued throughout the early 
afternoon, marching down Unter den Linden to the palace, then 
turning to the right and on to the police presidency in Alexander 
Place. At three-thirty in the afternoon the procession was still 
on the move, so you will have some conception of the large num- 
ber of participants. One saw many boys sixteen and seventeen 
years of age, as well as men, armed with guns. Apparently they 
had had access to some large stores of ammunition and arms and 
anyone expressing sympathy with the Reds received without 
further question both gun and munition. The weeks following 
revealed what a dangerous practice this was, for inexperienced 
youngsters upon the slightest provocation would utilize the guns 
in their possession. 

"The procession during the afternoon became more ominous 
and threatening, as the numbers in its wake increased through, 
reenforcements from the suburban factory sections. All types of 
the masses were there, released soldiers in large number, the 
unemployed, women galore, respectable looking people and the 
•riffraff of society, old and young, telephone girls, railway men — 
all were there. Occasionally auto trucks filled with armed soldiers 
and civilians raced through the streets, causing everyone to scurry 
in all directions to avoid being run over. The number of these 
trucks rapidly increased, some having mounted machine guns, 
others with men lying on the dashboards and mudguards with 
guns pointed straight ahead, prepared to shoot upon the least 
evidence of resistance. About two p. m. word was circulated that 
the Reds had won the day, that the State Bank, the post office, 
the telegraph — in fact, all public service institutions were in their 
hands. Toward three I again walked down Unter den Linden to 
the Brandenburg Arch; along the avenue people had collected 
in small groups. In each case some bold spirit was debating the 
situation with some other person who often proved to be a woman. 
One had the impression that these debating teams were planted 
by the Reds, for invariably the debates ended with a decision in 
favor of the party representing the Reds. If such was actually 
the case one must give it to the Reds for putting across a very 



FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OF BERLIN 219 

clever and effective educational campaign, which is serving their 
propaganda purposes most admirably. 

"As I passed through the Arch on my way home the boom of 
cannon shots was heard from the direction of the palace. From 
Potsdammer Place machine gun and rifle fire was heard. I had 
hoped to ride home through the Tiergarten, but the few cars 
still running were so overcrowded it was impossible to board them. 
Thus I was compelled to walk home. In the Tiergarten every- 
thing was wonderfully quiet and peaceful, and one forgot the 
trouble and fighting of the masses back there in the city. True, 
every now and then the distant crack of a rifle, the muffled ta-ta- 
ta-ta of a machine gun or the boom of a cannon reminded one 
that all was not peace — in fact, that there was no peace, that 
history was in the making and as usual the blood of God's chil- 
dren was being used to write it. One involuntarily asked himself 
what the morrow would bring. I have speculated considerably 
as to whether the Entente will come in, for it seems that they 
alone can stem and check the tidal wave of Bolshevism which is 
apparently sweeping over Germany, threatening everything be- 
fore it, gaining momentum as it advances, and likely to spread 
from Germany throughout the world if not brought to an imme- 
diate halt. Socialization and democratization seem to be the 
program and slogan of the day, but we must prevent them from 
becoming terrorism, disintegration, and destruction of society. 

"Special issues of one or two of the government newspapers 
appeared tonight, apparently having been printed in some sub- 
urban press not occupied by the Reds. In these the announce- 
ment is made that the Government will resort to every available 
force to down the new insurrection. The determined resistance of 
the Reds means that much bloodshed will result in consequence." 

January 9th. 
"Wednesday evening of a most eventful day and one that 
bodes little good for the remainder of the week. Conditions have 
been going from bad to worse and today one was not sure of his 
life on the streets. Yesterday was more or less a repetition of 
the scenes which took place on Monday and of which I wrote in 
my last letter. There was considerably more shooting, however, 
during the day and especially toward evening. At four o'clock 



220 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

some heavy fighting began around the Brandenburg Arch. I 
happened to be bound for home on a car which usually passes 
the Arch, but luckily the shooting began a few minutes before we 
reached the corner so that we could still switch off into a side 
street and get home in a roundabout way. Rifles, machine guns, 
and cannon were used. In the morning when I went to the office 
I saw that machine guns manned by troops had been stationed on 
top of the Arch, and at once I surmised that trouble would occur 
here during the day. In the evening the Reds attempted to storm 
Anhalter Railway Station, which was guarded by government 
troops. They were repulsed, however, with rather heavy losses 
which, according to the latest papers, amounted to more than 
sixty killed, the number of wounded not being given. Similar 
fighting occurred around the Potsdammer Station, which was 
also guarded by government troops in order to protect the large 
stores of food supplies in the freight stations here. The news- 
paper printing establishments are still in the hands of the Reds, 
so that one has only their side of the story in the papers. 

"Yesterday the elevated trains were not running because all 
the stations were held by the Reds. Fortunately, street car 
service continued, but today the situation is reversed. The 
street car people have gone on strike for higher wages. I think 
they are demanding seventeen marks a day. Rut, fortunately 
again, the elevated train service was resumed. This evening on 
the way home in the elevated train considerable shooting oc- 
curred about the Friedrich Street station just as we pulled in. 
After a few moments' delay we proceeded, but not far, for we 
came to a standstill again between Friedrich Street and the 
Lehrter Railway Station. Apparently there was heavy fighting 
going on at the latter place. It was rather exciting to be sitting 
in the train midway between two stations with shooting taking 
place on all sides. After some fifteen minutes, during which time 
there was constant shooting, we again proceeded, learning as we 
reached the station that the train going in the opposite direction 
had been hit several times by stray bullets. Needless to say, I 
was glad when I reached home safely. Throughout the afternoon 
there was almost continuous shooting going on everywhere. An 
innovation in the scene was the appearance of a number of hydro- 
planes which circled over the city, dropping a large number of 



FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OP BERLIN 221 

handbills put out by the marine soldiers in which the people were 
urged to shed no more blood. Such measures, of course, are use- 
less. Up to date the casualties, wounded and killed, probably 
exceed 250. 

"This afternoon Unter den Linden from Friedrich Street past 
the Brandenburg Arch, the streets about the Reichstag, and 
also Wilhelmstrasse from Unter den Linden to Leipziger, were 
closed. It seems that the Reds were shooting from the roofs 
of the houses in this territory and throwing hand grenades into 
the crowds of pedestrians in the streets below. In Unter den 
Linden three men were killed by a hand grenade. The troops 
called in by the Government have been stationed around this 
territory and are gradually closing in on the Reds, who are mak- 
ing a mtost determined resistance. Tonight the water supply is 
shut off, at least here in Charlottenburg; I trust not for long, for 
you can realize what terrible conditions will arise in a large city 
when the water supply is cut off for any length of time. The 
provoking thing is that no one knows the cause for the stoppage, 
although all attribute it to the fact that the Reds have probably 
gained control of the water pumping station. Rumors are cir- 
culating that tomorrow we shall be without light. When we 
read of the awful conditions prevailing in Petrograd we little 
realized, much less expected, that such conditions could ever 
exist in Berlin, and yet here today they are very similar. At 
present the atmosphere is so very tense that one actually wishes 
for something startling and drastic to happen, to bring relief 
from the present attitude where everything is set on trigger edge, 
capable of going off at any moment. 

"An interesting phenomenon associated with the revolution and 
apparently typical of all' revolutions, for I understand that it 
occurred in Russia, as well as in France at the time of its revolu- 
tion, is the great increase in dancing. Practically all cabarets 
and many of the caffe schedule dances beginning early in the 
afternoon and continuing throughout most of the night, when 
the closing hour is not strictly enforced. Similarly, gambling 
clubs, especially in the well-to-do section of the city along Kur- 
furstendamm, have sprung up in large numbers, some of them 
being most elaborately equipped and decorated. Meals are 
served in these places at staggering prices, but this does not seem 



222 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

to prevent the public from patronizing them. They are invariably- 
filled with large numbers of men and women attracted by the 
lure of the gambling spirit. Money is plentiful among this class 
and with comparatively few outlets for spending — food and 
clothing being out of the question — excitement is had by fre- 
quenting the gambling dens. 

"Plundering and robberies are the order of the day, the police 
proving entirely inadequate and inefficient — in fact, so completely 
so that one is led to believe that they are in conspiracy with those 
who do the plundering. The circular billboards so common in 
Berlin contain hosts of advertisements offering rewards from a 
few hundred to several thousand marks for information leading 
to the arrest of those guilty of the plundering. The removal from 
large department stores of several hundred thousand marks' 
worth of silks, suits, furs, and similar stock is a nightly occurrence, 
but one seldom if ever hears of the arrest and conviction of the 
thieves. So bold have some of these plundering gangs become 
that booty captured by them is openly sold in the streets. In 
the east part of Berlin a veritable market has been established on 
the open street for goods of this character. Here one can buy 
everything under the sun at comparatively reasonable prices, 
knowing full well that the supplies on hand are all stolen wares. 

"The debating groups on the streets are still the predominant 
phenomena of the present crisis, together with the marching bands 
of party followers. Every half hour a more or less lengthy parade 
passes down the street; as the days go by the appearance of the 
participants is more and more unkempt. You know how the 
German can scold. You should hear the spectators on the walks 
these days. They scold and knock everything from the Chan- 
cellor down and then begin all over again, until they are red in 
the face and the perspiration flows. Everyone is asking why the 
Government does not resort to more drastic measures and use 
force to the utmost to quell the uprising. My own opinion is the 
Government does not dare to do so. It is not sure of the soldiers 
upon whom it must depend should it really wish to use force. 

"In the street debates there is considerable talk and specula- 
tion as to the conditions which would prevail were Entente troops 
to occupy Berlin. I believe a large percentage of the people would 
welcome such occupation, especially by American or British 



FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OP BERLIN 223 

troops, for two reasons; first, because food supplies would then be 
distributed — this, perhaps, is the primary reason — and, in the 
second place, because order would soon be restored. What a 
strange irony of fate that the same people who a few months ago 
could find no words adequate to describe their animosity and 
hatred against us should now almost beg us to come to their rescue 
from a scourge of their own making and arising out of their midst! 
The fact that there has not been more bloodshed is due no doubt 
to the slogan, "Brothers, do not shoot," which reminds the men 
of both parties that in shooting they are actually killing their 
countrymen, and the Landsmann, as he is called, is regarded more 
or less as sacred. None the less it is plainly evident as one mingles 
with the crowd that violent action is soon to be taken, for the 
vast majority of the people have become intolerant of the high- 
handed methods of the Reds. I expect a rather heavy battle 
within the next few days, if not tomorrow. It is now a case of 
fighting to the limit or yielding to the rowdyism and terrorism 
such as the Reds proclaim as their program." 

January 9th. 

"More trouble today. No street car and no elevated train 
service, so that practically everyone who wished to go downtown 
had to use the subway or walk. Naturally, the majority of the 
people had to walk. In front of the subway station there were 
lines of prospective passengers extending far out into the streets, 
waiting for the chance to buy their tickets. Near the Branden- 
burg Arch guards were stationed on all corners, to prohibit public 
traffic through and about the Arch. As I wanted to get to our 
Y M C A Foyer for prisoners of war, which is situated near by, I 
had to pass through the Arch or go in a roundabout way. The 
guards there refused me passage, but I happily thought of one of 
my permits from the War Ministry, signed by a representative 
of the Soldiers' Council, and I submitted this for inspection to 
the next guard who obstructed my way. On seeing the signature 
and official stamp he courteously bowed and allowed me to pass 
without further ado. 

"The machine guns on top of the Arch had a rather sinister 
look as I passed directly under them. In fact, one had a strange 
feeling as one passed down Unter den Linden, realizing that 



224 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

on the previous night a battle had occurred resulting in the 
killing and wounding of several men. In the Foyer all was quiet, 
no one being there but the woman who cleans the office daily. I 
made arrangements to have the place closed for the day, as nat- 
urally no prisoners of war would be allowed to trespass in the 
territory leading up to the Foyer, since it was in the danger zone 
and was shut off to the public. The day before many people had 
sought refuge in the Foyer during one of the battles which occur 
a dozen or twenty times a day in this section. All the buildings 
in the vicinity are more or less riddled with bullet holes. 

"After finishing all arrangements and giving orders I hurried , 
down to the office, being compelled to pass another line of guards 
who demanded my identification papers before permitting me to 
pass out of the barricaded section. The girls had all appeared 
at the office, but I urged them to hurry with a few of the more 
urgent letters and telegrams and then to go home, for rumors 
were circulated that today real fighting was to take place and 
one was not sure how far the fighting zone would extend. We all 
left about npon. There was more or less promiscuous and des- 
ultory shooting to be heard. All streets running into Unter den 
Linden and the entire business section about Potsdammer Place 
were practically deserted, as no public traffic was allowed. Natur- 
ally, at the line of demarcation hundreds if not thousands of 
people were congregated, evidently curious to see what was going 
to happen. Here one heard most interesting discussions taking 
place. 

"At three p. m. the street car service was resumed in certain 
sections of the city. Apparently employer and employes have 
come to terms and the increased wages demanded by the latter 
have been granted, which means an increased fare tariff in a 
month if not sooner. The streets presented an even more warlike 
appearance as the evening approached. The Government had 
called for volunteers to go against the Spartacists and thousands 
had apparently volunteered. Many, no doubt, are attracted by 
the very favorable pay offered for such service; the majority, 
however, I feel sure, are honest in their desire to put an end to 
the terrorism and high-handed methods of the Reds. The volun- 
teers were all equipped with arms at central depots and imme- 
diately sent out by squads or in auto trucks into those sections 



university Francalse du Camp de Sohneldemtihl 
ELfLOI ED TEMPS 



CODES PKhaliffiS BLSiiEHTAlRES 
Pours Preparatoire . - Lecture, JLcriture,Calcul . tous les jours dsc 8 h.a 9 h, 

Cours Eletaentaire . - Lecture et Ecriture .Lundi et Jeudi de 11 a 12 11. 

Orthographe et< > uardl et Vendredi de 11 h.a 12 h. 

Redaction (. 

Calcul l-'ercredi et- Samedi de 11 h.a 12 h. 

Pours koyen - Lecture et Dictee - Lundi et Samedi de 18 h.a 19 h. 
' Calcul kardl et Vendredi de 18 a 19 h. 

Redaction et Ecrlture - l.ercredi de 18 h. a 19 h. 

Grammaire et Dictee - Jeudi de 18 h. a 19 h. 

CODES PRIi.AlIglS SDPERIEDBS 

Grauaaire et Orthographe - kardi et Vendredi de 15^30 a 16^30 

Composition franeaise - Lundi ot Jeudi de 15 h 30 £ 16^30 _ 

Lecture e?.pliciuee - j»ercredi et Samedi' de 15V30 % 15^30 

Geographie - - Lundi et Je'udi de 9 h. a 10 h. 

luatheuaticues -Arithmetique- Lercredi et Samedi Je 9 h. > l" 1. 

Geometrie - Lundi et Vendredi de 19 h. a 20 h. 

Algebre - Mercredi de 19 h.a 20 h. 

CODRS PROrESSIOJJSLS 

Sciences physiques et naturelles 5-iardi et Vendredi de 9 h. a 10 h. 

dans leurs a? plications a l'agri culture ( 

Co-^ifirce . „ , 

Uomrtabilite kardi, jeudi et Samedi de 19 h. a 20 h. 

Stenographie Duployg Lundi,i.ercredi et Vendredi de 8 h. 'a 9 h. 

Bactyloeraphie fcardl, Jeudi et Samedi de E h a 9 h. 

Angl .is - Tous les joure de 13?30 \ 14?30 

Allemand Tous les jours de 10 h. a 11 h. 

Uspagnol Lundi ,i-e'roredi et Vendredi de 21 h.a 22 h, 

Industrie 

l-fiesistance dos ua'teriauxf T „. rli j s ■>/ *n >, it ^n 

appliauee au Deton ame ( ■" LUll<l1 de 14 > 30 a 15 > 30 
2-Organisation des usinest ^rcredi do 14,30 a 15,30 

Magasins et chantiers ( ' ' 

S-jstudes inaustrielles :- Vendredi de 14,30 a 15,30 

4-iilectricite,iec mique .- Lundi de 20 h. a 21 h. 
5-Dessi.i industriel ' ( Hardl et -) eu(il de 20 h. a 21 h. 

(ketallurgie et hatipe.it ( 
6-tietallurgie :- Mercredi de 20 h. a 21 h. 

7-Coiist.ructions civiles ( _' vendredi de 20 h. a 21 h. 

(Batiiiients et travau.i oubli cs( 

Tooojira,)hie,Leve d e Plans . Jiyelle-qnt - Dimanche de 8 h,3'0 \ 10 h 
Droit usuel —"-■ -Z~7-^: - f^ardi , jeudi et Vendredi de 16"30 a l'WO 
Architecture . art decoratif - Lundi,: ercredi et Samedi de, 16?30 a 17','30 
"^essiai d'Art - - - -■- - — ;,.ardi, jeudi et Samedi de 14^30 a 16 h. 

Coupe - - - - - :;ardi, -jeudi et Samedi de 21 h. a 22 h . 

fs.-ycIioloKie et PedaKogie 4.8rdi, jeudi et Samedi de 14y30 a 15^30 

Culture Phys ique -Tous les matins de 6 h. a 8 h 

Luslque - - ' - .- Lundi et jeudi de 15 h.a 1G h.(S».LLli DU T"Ei i 

Causerie: a Sauedi de 20 h. a 21 h. 



UNIVEItSITE FRANEAISE 

DU OAMP DE SCIINEIDEMUHL (POSEN) 






Schedule op Courses Given in the French University 
at Camp Schneidemuhl 



FIGHTING IN THE STREETS OF BERLIN 225 

of the city where the Spartacists had entrenched themselves. 
Efforts were made to prevent the spread of the uprising. Thus all 
along the drive through the Tiergarten leading from Berlin to 
Charlottenburg armed guards were stationed, who halted all 
passing vehicles, demanded authorization and identification papers 
of the occupants, and assumed the right to examine any suspicious 
looking loads. Heavy fighting occurred in the newspaper office 
section of the city. In the shooting that occurred here a horse 
was killed. As soon as the fighting ceased and traffic was again 
permitted, pedestrians tackled the horse, hacking or tearing off 
large pieces of the flesh, and joyously lugging home the booty 
thus unexpectedly secured. Nothing but the skeleton of the 
horse remains now. No doubt it, too, will be hauled away by some 
enterprising restaurateur and will soon reappear in the form of 
meat extract or margarin, or perhaps some municipal kitchen will 
give its patrons a treat for dinner in the form of a rich meaty 
soup." 

January 10th. 

"The weather continues wonderfully clear and mild, a strange 
contrast to the storms in the streets these days. The morning 
papers tell of violent fighting during the night, resulting from an 
attempt on the part of the government troops to storm several 
of the newspaper plants which are still held by the Reds. The 
government troops were repulsed and the Reds are loud in their 
claims of victory. Machine guns are now stationed on many 
housetops and even in the spires of some of the churches in the 
immediate vicinity of the territory occupied by the Reds. From 
these an almost continuous fire sweeps the intrenchments of the 
Reds, as well as the housetops, for the Spartacists endeavor to 
bring food and ammunition to their besieged comrades by climbing 
over the housetops, as this is the only means now of reaching them. 

"Around the palace everything was more or less quiet this 
morning. True, every now and then one heard occasional shoot- 
ing, but to this one has become more or less indifferent. The 
whole business center of the city is still closed to the public. 
Elevated train service is again stopped. It seems that the Sparta- 
cists have succeeded in holding against all attacks two of the 
important elevated stations, and have thus succeeded in inter- 
rupting through train service. Street car service was also seriously 



226 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

disorganized in view of the closing to the public of so many streets. 
I therefore tried to get home in a roundabout way and boarded 
an omnibus which would bring me within hailing distance of my 
residence. As we passed under the Friedrich Street station tracks, 
machine guns from three different directions began to chatter, all 
apparently stationed on the housetops where we were passing. 
The spit-spat of the striking^ hullets in our immediate vicinity 
caused pandemonium to break loose. Everyone on the streets 
scurried in all directions to places of safety. Our driver at first 
pulled up his horses, but was furiously urged to go on by the 
panic-stricken passengers. He had stopped only for a moment, 
but it seemed ages before he got under way again. Children and 
women were crying. The men, with the exception of a few sol- 
diers, were all highly excited. Personally I never felt in all my life 
so utterly helpless, like a rat in a trap as it were, as during those 
terrifying moments of suspense when one expected every moment 
to be shot. Luckily, we got away safely." 



CHAPTER XXII 
A TRIP TO VIENNA 

"I was to leave Berlin the night of January 10th for Vienna, a 
trip which I was not particularly anxious to undertake under 
these unsettled conditions. I hurried my preparations so as to 
get to the Anhalter Station by daylight, even though my train 
did not leave until 9:36 p. m. It was six p. m. and dark, however, 
before I reached the station. The car service to the station had 
ceased in view of the fighting which had occurred there and which 
was likely to be resumed at any moment. The vicinity of the 
station, otherwise an exceedingly busy place, presented a most 
dismal and foreboding appearance. The station itself and all the 
streets leading to it were shrouded in gloom and darkness. I had 
to pass four lines of armed government guards, each of whom 
demanded my identification papers before I was finally admitted 
to the waiting room of the station. 

"In the ticket counter hall one saw numerous evidences of the 
fighting of the previous days, such as bullet holes through win- 
dows, walls, and signs. The waiting room itself was filled with 
travelers, largely soldiers, a few civilians, and a number of women. 
Government armed guards were everywhere in evidence. The 
hushed tones in which everyone spoke gave one the impression 
that the enemy must be very near. All of us were nervous and 
fearful lest the battle should begin before our train pulled out, 
in which case there would be no escape. Once someone gave a 
false alarm and we all rushed helter skelter, gripping our baggage 
as we did so. It makes me laugh now to think how we crowded 
together in a scrambling mass of scared humanity in the farthest 
corner of the waiting room. Very soon we discovered it was a 
false alarm, and we resumed our seats, each grinning more or 
less sheepishly at the other because of our betrayal of fear. 

"Finally train time arrived and with a big sigh of relief we 
boarded our train, thanking God, our stars, or- just our luck — 
according to our belief — when the train finally pulled out of the 

227 



228 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

station. The train was not as crowded as on earlier trips which 
I have taken. I had a fine seat, and as far as Leipzig we made 
the trip in schedule time. But from there on the delays began 
to pile up, so that by the time we neared Munich we were over 
four hours late. 

"Just before pulling into Regensburg, a town of some 30,000 
inhabitants about an hour north of Munich, our train stopped a 
short distance outside of the railway station. Minutes passed 
and finally I looked out of the window to discover if possible the 
cause of the delay, only to see two lines of armed civilians and 
soldiers approaching our train on a stealthy run, apparently 
intent on surrounding the train. Again nervous suspense ensued, 
for one could not tell whether they were the dreaded Spartacists 
or were government troops. As they reached the train they 
pointed rifles and revolvers at the passengers who were staring 
out of the windows, or held up hand grenades in a menacing 
manner so that things looked rather dangerous. Then came the 
order for all sailors on the train to get out, which, needless to say, 
most of them did rather reluctantly. The back-and-forth yelling 
of orders and the words of explanation which were overheard 
soon made things clear. The armed men were the Whites. The 
day before a band of Reds had raided a large number of stores 
in broad daylight in a most daring and audacious manner in the 
city, shooting had ensued, and in a midnight meeting the Whites 
had decided to inaugurate martial law. The sailors were espe- 
cially picked out as agents of the Reds, but I know the majority 
on our train were not; instead they were all mere boys, anxious 
to get home after the many years of more or less continuous 
separation. They were marched off under very heavy guard. I 
sincerely hope they were released, but know nothing of their fate. 

"After this exciting delay we pulled into the station. I got pff, 
for I had to change trains here. Obviously I was uneasy, for I 
had to remain in the town some six hours. After getting dinner 
at one of the hotels, I went uptown to see the destruction caused 
by the raids of the Reds. Clothing, shoe, and fur shops had been 
stormed, but no food shops — an interesting commentary on the 
situation. All plate-glass windows had been broken, and all 
goods in the shops taken away, an absolutely clean sweep, so to 
speak, having been made. One wondered how they got away 



A TRIP TO VIENNA 229 

with it. Truck autos with armed soldiers and machine guns 
raced up and down the streets, doing police duty. In addition, 
armed guards were stationed at all street corners. It is incredible 
the way the Red terror is spreading. 

"Munich, Stuttgart, Niirnberg, and Leipzig all report similar 
terroristic stunts by the Reds. I was glad when we pulled out of 
the city at 5:30 p. m. even though uncertain as to what I would 
run into en route. Our trip continued without further interrup- 
tions to Passau on the German-Austrian frontier. Here I was 
compelled to wait over night for an early train the next morning. 
The trip to Vienna, ordinarily one of less than thirty-six hours, 
required seventy-two hours to complete." 

January 14th. 

"I have had time to experience post-war conditions here in 
Vienna. My conclusion is, 'Far worse than Berlin.' Yesterday 
I spent twenty-six kroners for a simple though well-prepared 
dinner. All kinds of meat can be had at these prices, but vege- 
tables, aside from cabbage, are practically a minus quantity. The 
menu card, a la carte, included lamb, beef, pork, and veal; pota- 
toes almost nil; bread likewise, and next week the bread ration 
is to be reduced to one half the present ration, which means that 
the people will receive just a little over one pound of bread per 
week. One marked difference is the palatable manner in which 
the food is prepared here. One would say a better cuisine than 
in Berlin, where restaurant food now is invariably flat and taste- 
less. German bread, however, is far better than that in Vienna. 
Sugar is scarcer here. Clothing prices are staggering. A pair of 
socks costs from 33 to 50 kroners, handkerchiefs 8 to 18 kroners 
apiece; shoes 200 kroners and upwards; overcoats 1,200 kroners 
and up; gloves 45 kroners and upwards; underwear 50 kroners 
and upwards. These prices mean that the poorer people are 
unable to buy any new clothing and as the War has been on more 
than four years you cannot conceive the awful condition in which 
some of the people run about the streets. Poverty? Yes, starva- 
tion is prevalent here. In Berlin I have seen few cases as bad as 
hundreds which I have seen here since yesterday. 

"Begging is unlimited. The sidewalks are lined with pitiable 
specimens of humanity asking for alms. Blind and frightfully 
crippled soldiers, ragged women with babies in their arms, poor 



230 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

shivering barefoot urchins — all appeal to the passers-by for some 
substantial evidence of sympathy. What a problem they are to 
a conscientious giver! One would like to help all deserving cases, 
although doubtless there are many fakes among them, but it is 
impossible to do so. Whatever relief commission begins work 
here should first of all clean the streets of these people, find 
houses for them, and organize and centralize relief stations. 
What a tremendous opportunity for Christian social service, based 
on Christ's love for every human individual no matter what his 
state! 

"The scarcity of coal is strongly in evidence. All offices and 
shops must shut down at four p. m. to save coal and light. As 
night approaches the streets become gruesomely dark, for com- 
paratively few street lamps are lighted. All theaters and cinemas 
are closed throughout the week except on Friday and Saturday 
and occasionally Thursday. Street car service stops at eight 
p. m. and all the cafes and restaurants close at nine. Many 
restaurants, even those in connection with some of the largest 
hotels, are closed, and bear signs to the effect that they are closed 
because of a lack of food supplies. One does not see poultry in 
the meat shops as in Berlin, where it is comparatively plentiful 
even though most expensive. Board and room in a modest 
pension cost not less than fifty kroners a day. The haggard faces 
and sorrowful eyes of many of the pedestrians, including the 
children, which one sees on all sides, speak loudly of the suffering 
which they have endured. 

"This morning I was witness of an interesting scene — the 
parade through the streets of a troop of English soldiers headed 
by an English officer. It did one good to see the khaki-clad boys. 
The newspapers report that they have come here as guard of a 
train of forty cars of food supplies from Italy, which are being 
given as a token of appreciation of the treatment accorded to 
British prisoners of war in Austria. The Swiss Relief Commis- 
sion which arrived recently brought fifty-nine car loads of food 
supplies for Vienna. 

"One notices comparatively few of the signs of political unrest, 
such as mass meetings, debating groups in the streets, and cir- 
cularization of handbills, that were so characteristic of the 
streets of Berlin. Somehow one has the feeling here that a great 



A TRIP TO VIENNA 231 

tragedy has taken place involving an entire nation. Hope seems 
to have fled, and where that occurs there is little life left. The 
condition of the poor is appalling in the extreme. Their con- 
dition is accentuated by the contrast of the fine shops and most 
handsomely clad men and women. The Viennese were always 
good dressers. The social scheme which permits abject and pain- 
ful poverty such as one sees here, while others are so luxuriously 
and extravagantly cared for, must be wrong. A good God 
cannot tolerate such extremes in the life of His children indefi- 
nitely. Perhaps the revolutionary events which have occurred are 
the beginnings of a new day. 

"At present the Clericals are still well-nigh almighty in power. 
How long will they remain so? Not only in politics, but also in 
the church system, must there be a revolution if a healthy social 
fabric is to be woven on history's loom in Austria. Think of 
little babies being brought to the county hospitals wrapped in 
newspapers, because there are no clothes for them; or of the little 
barefoot urchins, hundreds of whom I have seen on the streets 
standing in the cold slush and snow. What anguish and torture 
the loving mothers who gave birth to these wee mites must 
endure! God have mercy on them, and forgive us from the lands 
of plenty if immediate relief does not come from us. 'And a 
little child shall lead them.' How can the children lead, when 
we rob them of their birthright, when frozen and starving they 
succumb because of our neglect or indifference? 

"On my return from Vienna I passed through the new Czecho- 
Slovakian country and was surprised at the friendly attitude 
shown me whenever the officials discovered my American citi- 
zenship. It did one good to see at many of the railway stations 
the new flag of Czecho-Slovakia displayed with our American 
flag." 



CHAPTER XXIII 
EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY 

On returning from Vienna, I wrote on January 19th: 

"Somehow, I was mighty glad to get back to Berlin yesterday 
from my trip to Vienna. The streets presented a most martial 
as well as a busy appearance. Everywhere armed and uniformed 
soldiers, the new government troops, were in evidence. It seems 
that the Spartacists' revolt and attempt to prevent the national 
elections from taking place had been put down during my ab- 
sence and all was more or less in order again. Handbills by the 
thousands were being distributed by men and women and espe- 
cially by large numbers of children, who had been drafted into 
the electioneering service by the respective political parties in 
the field. Sandwich men and men and women with placards of 
the various political parties were parading up and down the 
streets endeavoring to win a few more voters in the eleventh hour 
for their respective parties. During the past few days innumer- 
able special meetings for women voters have been held by all of 
the parties, in an attempt to win their votes on election day as 
well as to educate them in the proper use of this newly won 
privilege. 

"The whole city is placarded. Public buildings, street cars, 
wagons — in fact, every available place has one or more posters. 
The brilliant red of the Social Democrats, the red, black, and 
gold of the People's Party, and the red, white, and black of the 
old conservative parties predominate in these posters. On the 
whole the poster designs are far from artistic and to me do not 
appeal as very effective. In all of the party publicity strong 
appeals are made for the votes of the women. One of the most 
effective posters represents a ragged little street waif pointing 
his finger at you with the remark, 'Mother, do not forget me.' 

"On the street car coming home from the railway station a 
soldier boarded the car and examined everyone for concealed 
weapons, a practice which has been common throughout Berlin 
since the downfall of the Spartacists. No stone is being left 

232 



EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY 233 

unturned in an effort to gain complete control of the situation 
and once for all to put an end to the Red terror. A heavy penalty- 
is inflicted upon anyone found carrying concealed weapons with- 
out permission. 

"Today, January 19th, is election day. One wonders whether 
Sunday was purposely chosen either to desecrate the Sabbath 
and thus demonstrate the utter disregard of the new movement 
for things religious, or in order to bring home to everyone the 
sacredness of the new privilege — equal, universal suffrage— and to 
caution people to use this privilege justly. Let us hope the latter 
holds true. It is difficult to grasp the fact that here in this land, 
which until four months ago was the stronghold of autocratic 
monarchism, is today to hold for the first time in its history a 
national election on the basis of equal, universal suffrage for all, 
when women will be entitled to vote along with the men, and 
will, furthermore, doubtless cast the deciding votes. The popular 
vote cast today will in all probability greatly exceed in number 
all previous records. Let us remember, too, that this is happen- 
ing in a land most disastrously defeated in war, thoroughly dis- 
organized internally and especially industrially; that the voting 
is taking place perhaps more quietly than in countries long ac- 
customed to the franchise; and that a reign of terror which threat- 
ened these very elections has just been quelled within three days, 
and something of the magnitude and significance of today's elec- 
tion becomes clear to one. It predicts well for the future of the 
nation, in spite of the other gloomy prospects. 

"This morning I walked the streets to see how the voting is 
taking place. I passed any number of voting booths or polls. 
Everywhere long lines of the new voters, four abreast usually, 
were waiting to cast what for the majority will be their first vote. 
Women in their Sunday best were in the predominance, perhaps 
more excited because of the novelty of the event than because of 
any partisan feelings or interests, although it is surprising how 
intelligent many of the women are with reference to the whole 
political horizon and the factors involved. For the first time in 
Germany's history class distinctions had disappeared and all 
were equal so far as the value of their vote was concerned. Here 
were women, young and old, the wives of millionaires and their 
servant girls, professional women and factory girls — all on the 



234 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

same level, all with the right to vote, the vote of one having the 
same potential value as that of every other one. One little inci- 
dent is especially worthy of mention. A group of Catholic sisters 
or nuns from a near-by nunnery were seen on their way to a booth 
shepherded as it were by a Catholic priest: trembling, anxious, 
worried, with palpitating hearts, no doubt, participating for the 
first time in the worldly process of voting, in reality a sacred obli- 
gation. One wondered what St. Ursula, the patron saint of the 
nunnery in question, would say were she to have seen her de- 
scendants thus partaking in political life. 

"The revolt of the Spartacists was put down during my absence. 
It seems that our Y M C A Foyer for the prisoners of war was in 
the thick of some rather heavy fighting. Thus, after one of the 
spasmodic fighting seances the bodies of two of the participants 
who had been killed were brought into our rooms for temporary 
storage. Just how many people were killed during the revolt 
no one knows; apparently the number runs up into the hundreds. 
Liebknecht, the ringleader of the Spartacists, was captured, but 
on the way to the military court he attempted to escape and was 
fatally shot when he refused to halt upon the request of the 
guards who had him in custody. At least this is the explanation 
given by the government papers in their account of the death of 
Liebknecht. Rosa Luxemburg, known as the Red Rose, who 
was one of the most influential leaders of the Spartacists, was 
captured at the same time and was practically lynched by the 
infuriated mob. At present no one knows anything regarding her 
actual fate. It seems she was shot, whether fatally or not is not 
known. The auto in which she was being taken to a hospital 
was stopped by the mob and in the confusion that ensued she 
disappeared. It was supposed that the mob had killed her and 
thrown her body in one of the near-by canals, but up to date her 
body has not been recovered in spite of a most scrupulous search 
of the canals for the same. One now suspects that she was not 
killed, but was carried away by friends and that she is in hiding, 
hatching out some new schemes whereby to terrify the country 
again. The military authorities have offered a reward of 10,000 
marks for information leading to the discovery of her whereabouts 
or to the recovery of her body. The whole affair is very much of 
a mystery to everyone. 



EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY 235 

"Whether or not the drastic measures resorted to by the Gov- 
ernment in suppressing the revolt have accomplished the com- 
plete cessation of Spartacist activity is very problematical. True, 
at present the streets of Berlin have assumed more or less their 
war-time normal appearance, with the possible exception of the 
large number of armed soldiers whom one sees on patrol duty 
throughout the city. On the other hand, sympathy strikes have 
been called throughout the country as a protest against the so- 
called brutal killing of Liebknecht. In various cities of Germany 
Spartacist revolts are taking place. Thus at present there are 
serious Spartacist troubles in Hamburg. One wonders why the 
Spartacist element does not decide upon a united effort through- 
out the country, rather than spend its energies in futile localized 
and spasmodic outbreaks. There have been such uprisings in 
Halle, Magdeburg, Leipzig, and Munich, but in each case after a 
brief initial success the Spartacists have been defeated by the 
superior forces of the government troops. 

"Here in Berlin we are the victims of a succession of strikes. 
It is more like an epidemic. First came the street car employes; 
then followed in rapid succession elevated train employes, waiters, 
employes in the large department store, and now those in the 
electric light plant. Apparently these last have cut the main, 
for about four o'clock yesterday afternoon all lights went out 
suddenly and all street cars mysteriously stopped in their tracks. 
This morning the cars were still where they had come to a halt 
yesterday, for there has been no current since. You can imagine 
what a catastrophe this procedure means for the city, now that 
neither candles nor petroleum are available to use as substitutes 
for lighting purposes. At the office we were fortunate enough to 
have a few candle stubs left from Christmas, which tided us over 
the dark hours of the morning and the late afternoon. Everyone 
had to walk to work this morning, with the result that no one 
arrived on time. 

"Today, January 3rd, comes the announcement of further in- 
conveniences for the citizens of Berlin. Elevated trains are in- 
definitely out of commission because of lack of coal and especially 
lack of locomotives. The papers claim that, in view of the large 
number of the latter that had to be given to the Entente on the 
basis of the armistice conditions, the supply necessary to run 



236 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the trains in Germany is entirely inadequate. In view of the coal 
shortage, cooking gas is to be shut off from eight-thirty to eleven 
o'clock in the morning and from two to five-thirty in the after- 
noon. The community kitchens continue to serve large numbers 
of people. As high as 350,000 people a month have been served 
in these kitchens. Many people, unable to secure the necessary 
supplies to prepare food at home and further handicapped by the 
shutting off of the gas during so many hours a day, prefer to eat 
at these kitchens rather than to attempt to cook at home. 

"Curfew hour is to be ten o'clock. There are to be no after- 
noon movie shows and theater performances are to be limited to 
certain nights a week. Restaurants and cabarets must close at 
nine-thirty. One wonders what will come next. The various 
measures being adopted at least make life interesting even if 
inconvenient." 

January 25th. 

"The results of the election held January 19th gave the ma- 
jority of seats in the Provisional National Assembly to the demo- 
cratic parties. The Majority Socialists, as predicted, received by 
far the largest numbers although not a majority; on the other 
hand, it is reasonable to assume that many of the Independent 
Socialists, although opposed to the Majority Socialists, will none 
the less vote with them on issues in which monarchism is involved, 
and in conjunction with the Majority Socialists will control the 
Assembly. The Clerical party is a formidable second, so far as 
number of representatives to be sent by it to the National As- 
sembly is concerned. The Assembly is to meet on February 6th 
at Weimar, and preparations are now under way for it, but again 
the Spartacist element is resorting to every available means in an 
effort to prevent the meeting of the Assembly. It is rumored that 
the railway employes are planning to strike and thus prevent the 
transportation of delegates to and from Weimar.. Spartacist up- 
risings are taking place in a large circle about Weimar. It seems 
that they are planning to encircle and capture such delegates as 
may be sent. The future of the whole Assembly is very much in 
doubt as a result. 

"Meanwhile, the Spartacist agitation still continues. Whereas 
in Berlin everything is comparatively quiet, disturbances and 
uprisings are occurring throughout the country. At the present 



EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY 237 

time there are strikes and violence of the worst kind in Halle, 
Leipzig, Erfurt, Gotha, and Munich. In the latter place the 
disturbance has been unusually serious. A central government 
made up of the Socialists, Workmen's, and Business Men's Coun- 
cils has been called into being. Train service is completely cut 
off and gas, water, and electric current have ceased to function 
because of the strike of the employes concerned. Weimar, the 
city where the National Provisional Government is to hold forth, 
is now more or less completely surrounded by Spartacists. It 
seems as though Germany were going from bad to worse. Ap- 
parently the Spartacists are definitely planning to surround and 
capture all the government delegates now in Weimar. One 
wonders whether they will succeed or whether the Government 
will have sufficient forces to prevent such a disaster. At the 
present time the government representatives who must pass 
between Munich and Berlin are compelled to utilize aeroplanes. 
In fact, a regular aeroplance service has been established between 
the two cities to carry passengers and mail. As a result of the 
constant feuds and troubles being caused by the Spartacists, the 
government army under the leadership of Noske, which primarily 
should function for national protection, is unconsciously being 
diverted from its real function and is becoming a political party 
army with the one function of maintaining its party in power. 
It is necessary to resort to force and violence to quell any dis- 
turbance likely to threaten the power and control of the present 
Majority Socialists. This, indeed, is most unfortunate and pre- 
sents a new menace. Whether or not this relationship will con- 
tinue future events alone can decide; but should the principle be 
thoroughly rooted whereby in an effort to maintain control of 
the Government a political party utilizes the government troops, 
I say, 'Watch out.' Much the same condition prevails in Russia, 
where the army of the Bolshevik Party is used essentially to 
maintain that party in control of the country and nation as a 
whole." 

February 8th. 

"The opening of the National Assembly took place two days 

ago in Weimar. It was hailed by the press as the most momentous 

day in the history of the new Germany. I quote the following 

from a number of the speeches made at this first meeting. They 



238 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

indicate that certain of the leaders at least are prompted by high 
idealism, which they are anxious to put into effect : 

"Ebert: 'The German people are free, will remain free, and 
forevermore govern themselves. This freedom is the one conso- 
lation which remains for the German people after the War.' 
Again, 'Here in Weimar we must complete the transition from 
imperialism to idealism, from desire for world power to desire for 
spiritual greatness and values.' 

"Landsberg, Minister of the Judiciary: 'Above the entrance 
to the Reichstag building the following words are written, "To 
the German people"' — a gift as it were from the lords to the 
people, indicative of the schoolmaster attitude and the hand-me- 
down policy of the old paternal form of government, where things 
were done for the people without their participation or represen- 
tation. Over Weimar National Assembly these words shall be 
written, "The German people," ' — indicative of the new relation- 
ship of the people to the Government, independent, free, and self- 
governing. 

"David: 'Democracy is the universalization of the aristocratic 
principle. Democracy should strive to guarantee to everyone the 
possibility of the maximum culture of personality.' 

"It is interesting to note the make-up of the first cabinet. 
Ebert, who was more or less unanimously elected as temporary 
President, is, as we know, a saddler; Scheidemann, a printer; 
Schiffer, a lawyer; Brockdorff-Rantzau, an aristocrat; Schmidt, a 
piano-maker; Landsberg, a lawyer; Noske, an editor; Bauer, a 
lawyer; Giesbert, editor of a laborers' paper; Koeth, an officer; 
Bell, a lawyer; David, a teacher, and Gotheim, a miner — the 
cabinet is thus more or less representative of all walks of life. 

"Of late the Government is resorting to an educational cam- 
paign in an effort to counteract the spread of Bolshevism. Most 
hideous and frightful posters designed to scare people from 
Bolshevism are being placarded everywhere. According to the 
legend on these they are circulated by 'The Anti-Bolsheviki 
Society,' but I am inclined to believe that the Government is 
indirectly responsible for them. 

"I have failed to mention the notices which have been posted 
on all public and utility buildings ever since the revolution 
Those on the public and national buildings inform the passers-by 



EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY 239 

that the building in question is 'National-Eigentum,' meaning 
national property. Those on utility buildings inform the passers-by 
and would-be marauders that the same is a utility building and 
must not be molested. Usually these notices have been respected, 
and comparatively little damage has resulted to such buildings 
as the museums, art galleries, and cathedrals." 



CHAPTER XXIV 
THE STRIKE EPIDEMIC CONTINUES 

From a letter written March 4th: 

"Last night a general strike was again called in Berlin and the 
calm of the past week or ten days is thus proving to be merely the 
calm before the storm. This, however, is more or less of a 'de 
luxe' strike. All industrial and commercial organizations are 
included, but the employes of plants for public utilities, such as 
gas, water, and electric light, received instructions not to strike; 
thus we are assured of water, gas, and electric service for the time 
being. In most other places where a general strike was declared 
everything was included. However, one does not know for how 
long we shall be spared. Today there was no street car, elevated 
or subway train service. I had over an hour's walk to the office 
this morning as a result. Restaurants and cafes were all closed. 
Tomorrow all food stores are to be closed. Rumors are being cir- 
culated that the middle class and professional men are going to 
organize a counter strike — that is, that doctors, druggists, and the 
like will strike and refuse to give service such as medical attention 
to anyone. Today we still had telephone service, but this, too, as 
well as the postal service, is to join in the strike tomorrow. Thus 
we shall be cut off completely from the entire world. None of 
the moderate or conservative newspapers appear and all one can 
get is one-sided news from the press of the striking parties. Another 
new paper has appeared known as the Daily Bulletin, issued by 
the Soldiers' and Workmen's Council, which is at the bottom of 
the whole disturbance. 

"I should explain that these councils are responsible for the 
present general strike and are in direct opposition to the present 
Government in control. People owning wagons and horses have 
taken advantage of the situation caused by the complete stand- 
still of all means of traffic and offer to take one various distances 
at fabulous prices. Tonight, for example, I rode part of the way 
home on an ordinary wagon with improvised seats a distance of 

240 




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THE STRIKE EPIDEMIC CONTINUES 241 

about a mile and had to pay three marks for the trip. I was one 
of six passengers. Every imaginable type of rig has been called 
into service to relieve the transportation situation. Tomorrow I 
am planning to sleep uptown, for it is too much of a good thing 
to hike the distance to the office every day. Somehow a fellow 
no longer has the necessary physical endurance. Four years of a 
greatly diminished and restricted diet evidently have their effect 
on one's strength. On the whole the day was rather quiet, al- 
though one heard occasional shooting in various parts of the city. 
Last night in certain sections there were serious raids on the food 
stores. Today everyone was buying bread and such other food 
supplies as are available, in order to lay up a reserve store in 
preparation for the worst." 

March 6th. 

"The strike continues and today was more serious than ever. 
Not the least sign of a newspaper all day, so that one has not the 
slightest idea of what is going on aside from that which one per- 
sonally witnesses. This afternoon there is no electric light, so I 
presume the strikers have got the upper hand there. Around the 
office this afternoon the fighting and shooting became so con- 
tinuous and so near to our quarters that I ordered the girls home 
immediately. As it was, the streets leading to the office had 
already been barricaded by barbed wire and Spanish riders. 
Cannon were stationed in front of the buildings. Machine guns 
were everywhere on the housetops and street corners in the vi- 
cinity. Troops were stationed in all the schools. Barbed wire 
barricades had been thrown up beyond both the cathedral and 
the palace, as the strikers are expected from the direction of 
Alexander Place. In that neighborhood there has been more or 
less violent fighting throughout the past two nights. 

"Last night I remained in the hotel where the American order- 
lies are living. I did not have a very restful night, for there was 
more or less shooting going on in the neighborhood and about 
three o'clock this morning three terrifying cannon shots nearby 
scared every one of us out of bed." 

March 9th. 

"The backbone of the general strike seems to be broken, even 
though the street car service has not yet been resumed. This is 
fortunate, for there have been some rather serious occurrences. 



242 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

Thursday afternoon the shooting became so continuous and was 
so near the office that we had to leave at three p. m. for safety's 
sake — the second time this has occurred. 

"Thursday night gas, electric light, and water were all turned 
off in Charlottenburg so that we suffered considerable incon- 
venience. Friday morning the gas was still shut off, although 
water and electric light service was resumed. The gas remained 
off until early this morning. People without electric light, which 
by the way was off again last night, were up against it, as were 
those who depend entirely upon gas for cooking purposes. Friday 
morning we could not get to the office as all the streets leading 
there were blocked by guards and no pedestrians were allowed to 
pass, no matter how imperative their business or how authorita- 
tive a pass or permit they had. Shooting was continuous. Yes- 
terday, however, we who had certificates to indicate that we were 
employed in the barricaded territory were permitted to pass, so 
that we all worked yesterday. There has been no mail delivery 
at the office since Thursday, so that we shall have a landslide 
when the accumulated mail is finally delivered. 

"In front of the office, across the street, and leading to the 
bridges, barbed wire entanglements have been strung. Evidently 
the Spartacists were expected to make an attempt here to get 
into the center of the city. The guards on duty were still as 
numerous as ever. Machine gun fire could be heard as well as 
many individual rifle shots. The government troops seemed to 
be master of the situation. At present the attempt is- being made 
to drive out the street bands of Spartacists who have intrenched 
themselves in various sections of the city in the northeast region. 
The endeavor to do this with as little bloodshed as possible makes 
progress rather slow. I marvel at the obstinacy of the resistance, 
for the strikers surely must realize that their cause is lost. Mil- 
lions' worth of property have been destroyed, ruthlessly as well 
as a direct result of the heavy firing and shooting. Thus far 
several hundred actually killed are reported and over 900 wounded. 

"Yesterday the papers again appeared after well-nigh a week's 
suspension. Since Friday night the subway has been running, so 
that some relief for the calamitous traffic conditions has been 
achieved. The street cars have not yet resumed service because 
the striking employes are demanding pay for the days of the. 



THE STRIKE EPIDEMIC CONTINUES 243 

strike, which the employers justly refuse to grant. The entire 
strike seems to have been provoked by the Spartacists, ably 
assisted by the Independent Socialists, to serve as a pretense for 
the overthrow of the present Government and the installation of 
a regime of the Russian type. The Independent Socialist group 
apparently is fluctuating between allegiance to the more radical 
Spartacists on the one hand and the less radical Social Demo- 
crats on the other. Whichever party succeeds in securing their 
permanent allegiance will be greatly strengthened, because the 
Independent Socialist Party is a strong one. 

"The Government in its attempt to provide employment for 
the many soldiers returned from the front has just issued an 
order prohibiting the employment of all enemy aliens, which 
includes the Russians who are here in large numbers. During 
the days of the occupation of Russia German employment agents 
were sent into Poland, for the purpose of recruiting the Polish 
civilian population for work in Germany. Extensive promises 
were made of high wages and good living conditions with the 
result that large numbers of the male population volunteered 
for this service and were shipped into Germany, where they 
worked in the various industries. Invariably they received far 
heavier work, such as railway construction, munition factory 
work, and the like, than had been promised them. Now all 
of these men as a result of the above decree are thrown out of 
employment and at present there is no possibility of their return 
to Poland, for traffic between Poland and Germany has ceased. 
Considerable antipathy has developed between the Poles and 
Germans as a result of the ceding of German territory to the 
Poles on the basis of the peace terms. Thus these Russians 
thrown out of employment are literally stranded. 

"The other day one such came to our office. His case is typical 
of thousands. It is just another sorrowful tale of victimizing, 
of which there have been so many during this war. He was 
brought to Germany by the alluring promises of an employment 
agent but on arriving was forced to do hard manual labor. In 
accordance with the decree mentioned above he was turned 
out of his job. Unable to get work because no foreigners were 
permitted to be employed, he was obliged to sell his clothing 
piece by piece, and finally had to give up his room because he 



244 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

could not pay the rent for it. Giving up his room meant that 
he was deprived of his food cards, and thus without money, food, 
or friends, he stumbled on to us. 

"We immediately wrote to the police authorities protesting 
that the Germans were responsible for the fact that he was in 
the country and that it would be up to them to provide at least 
food for him. Fortunately our protest succeeded and food 
cards were issued him enabling him to secure food at least. We 
next appealed to the local police authorities for permission for 
him to sleep in our office, which was fortunately granted. We 
have given him work as a packer and general errand boy and 
thus are helping to tide him over the present pitiful situation. 
Needless to say, he is anxious to get home. On questioning 
him further I learned that every now and then a trainload of 
similarly stranded men is shipped back by the German authorities 
to Poland, but this is done only in cases where they are able 
to pay their own railway fare. Unfortunately most of these 
individuals have used up, in trying to keep alive since they were 
thrown out of employment, what little reserve funds they had 
accumulated and hence cannot avail themselves of the proposition. 

"Another case which is typical of many these days is that 
of our former packer. You will recall that he left us several 
months ago to work in the munition factories, attracted there 
by the better wages which were paid. In the struggle to pro- 
vide adequate food for wife and baby he went into the country 
to buy up, if possible, some potatoes for his family. On the 
way home he stole some geese but was caught and has been 
sentenced to two years' imprisonment — the crime being the 
stealing of food for his hungry wife and baby. The wife is now 
looking to us for work and help. Thus one tragedy after another 
runs by — unnoticed by the world at large, and yet so full of 
human suffering. The joy of life is gone for most of these people. 
Pessimism and bitterness ensue. It is for such as these that 
sympathetic friendship such as we can give is needed more 
than anything else. More than ever we need the Good Samar- 
itan spirit." 

March 16th. 

"The strike and attendant troubles of the past two weeks 
are over, but I fear only for a very short time. Another general 



THE STRIKE EPIDEMIC CONTINUES 245 

strike has been announced, so rumor has it, to take place begin- 
ning March 26th, and this time to extend all over Germany 
simultaneously. During the entire past week the territory in 
the immediate vicinity of our office has been closed to public 
traffic. All of us had to secure special certificates of identifi- 
cation from War Minister Noske in order to get past the guards 
and to our office. Barbed wire barricades were present every- 
where. Yesterday I went over to Alexander Place, where the 
most serious fighting had occurred. The region certainly looked 
it. The buildings are all more or less badly shot up and scarcely 
a whole window is left in the entire neighborhood. The casual- 
ties, including killed and wounded, run into the thousands. Every 
imaginable technical appliance of modern warfare was utilized 
by the government troops to rout out the Spartacists who had 
intrenched themselves in this section. Bombs were dropped 
from aeroplanes; flame throwers were utilized; heavy caliber 
guns, poison gas shells, and machine guns all found their use." 

March 24th. 

"The papers are full of the recent events which have occurred 
in Hungary and everyone is speculating as to what consequences 
will follow so far as the spirit of Bolshevism in Germany and 
Austria is concerned. That the Hungarians have joined the 
ranks of the Russian Bolsheviki is sure to prove a great encour- 
agement to the Spartacists here. It is not for us to criticize, 
but one cannot help wondering whether it would have come to 
this had the Entente been quicker in coming to terms with de- 
feated Central Europe. I fear the fevered haste at present to 
bring peace within a week, as the papers announce, comes too late. 

"We are experiencing an unusual calm in political circles, which 
bodes ill for the immediate future. The general strike which 
rumor declared was to break out beginning tomorrow apparently 
will not take place, but is being postponed until conditions are 
more propitious. The whole situation is pregnant with great 
decisive possibilities. In fact it seems as though we are head- 
ing toward another war in which the Russian Bolshevik idea 
will battle for world supremacy with the Western Allied principles 
of democracy. An alliance between Germany and Russia is not 
an impossibility. There are many, especially in the ranks of 



246 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

the Spartacists, who count on such an alliance as a certainty. 
The first food ships from America are to arrive in Hamburg 
tomorrow. They will probably postpone or check temporarily 
the Bolshevik wave, but I fear they arrive too late to defeat 
successfully or to stem the tide of Bolshevism. They should 
have come two months ago and with them plenty of raw material 
for manufactures. Hungry, unemployed masses are unusually 
fertile ground for seeds of dissension and revolution such as the 
Bolsheviki or Spartacists are sowing." 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE GERMAN CHURCH AT HOME AND ABROAD 

From a letter written May 11th: 

"This evening I went to church, the first time in ages, for 
the nationalistic type of sermon usually preached does not appeal 
to me. Naturally the sermon was on the peace terms which 
have become public during the past week. The minister very 
cleverly expounded the text, 'Blessed are they that suffer, for 
they shall be comforted.' Throughout the implication was 
made that the Entente were the ones whom God would punish, 
that the German people, the chosen of God, must like Jesus 
suffer before going to the full reward that God would provide 
for his chosen people. He concluded by quoting the last few 
verses of the Twenty-third Psalm. That the Germans had 
done any wrong was not even implied, much less any mention 
made of it. The one hopeful sign was the preacher's challenge 
to the audience that through the inflicted suffering they would 
find their own souls. This thought was well carried out through 
the verse, 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world 
and lose his soul?' which he revised as follows, 'What shall it 
harm a man if he lose the whole world but find his soul?' There 
was no thought of repentance nor confession of wrong in his 
entire sermon. He is one of the old conservative school. 

"Fortunately, there is a younger and more rational element 
in the ministry from whom much may be expected. Not only 
has the revolution affected the political and industrial life and 
organization of the country, but also the religious and church 
life. I recall one clergyman, who told of the schism that had 
occurred in the ministerial staff of the church of which he was 
one of the pastors; it seems that the younger pastors expressed 
approval of Wilson and his idealism as well as rather liberal 
views with reference to church organization under the new order. 
The older men virtually ostracized the young progressive pastors. 
Such disharmony is occurring in other churches for similar reasons. 

247 



248 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

"I have recently received tentative plans for the revision or 
reorganization of the churches on a more liberal basis and in 
accord with the feeling which is becoming prevalent that sooner 
or later church and state will be separated. 

"The proposed changes to be made in the constitution and 
program of the German Church, as expressed in these plans, 
embody a number of ideas that are of real interest. They in- 
clude, among other things, the demand that the individual con- 
gregations should have the right to choose their own pastors, 
since no congregation can be compelled or expected to accept 
a pastor forced upon it by the heads of the Synod. In connec- 
tion with the congregational life the following recommendations 
are made: First, the cooperation of lay men and women for 
independent work in financial affairs, care of the poor, care of 
the young, and in ladies' aids and missionary societies. Under 
the heading, 'The nature of the ritual services in the Church,' 
a most important recommendation is that the churches be made 
available for religious lectures followed by discussions under 
the leadership of laymen. Second, permission to use the churches 
for people's concerts as well as other forms of uplifting enter- 
tainments. Under the heading, 'Relationship between Church 
and school' the request is made that the pastors no longer be 
held responsible for the spiritual superintendence of the schools 
and that they be relieved from the necessity of religious instruc- 
tion in the schools. Under the heading of 'Development of the 
social spirit' it is interesting to note that the parties strongly 
recommend participation of the Church in such matters as the 
land tenantry movement, the prohibition movement, the people's 
theater, education of the masses, and high schools for the people. 
The Church is also urged to engage actively in the fight against 
profiteering, against all sins of capitalism, against class distinc- 
tions whether from the right or the left — in fact to participate 
in every manner possible in matters dealing with social recon- 
ciliation. The abolishment of paid pews is also strongly recom- 
mended. 

"The concluding suggestion is one of vital importance and 
if carried out it will demonstrate, perhaps more than any other, 
the new spirit which is taking possession not only in the ranks 
of the masses but even in the Church, which heretofore was but 



THE GERMAN CHURCH AT HOME AND ABROAD 249 

a paid instrument of the State. Under the heading of 'Cultiva- 
tion of the peace ideal' the following is recommended: 'Energetic 
emphasis on the international character of the Gospel, which 
excludes racial and national hatreds, which places the principles 
of righteousness in place of imperialistic diplomacy, and which 
demands equal rights and enlightenment for all members of the 
human family.' The concluding sentence reads as follows: 'Thus 
the people's Church will become the communion of all those who 
desire to live in the spirit of Jesus Christ. She will become 
the conscience of the people and lead the way to truth, liberty, 
and purity.' 

"These are hopeful signs for the new Church of Germany. 
Much helpful service could be rendered by our own churches 
if it were possible to send acceptable representatives over to 
confer and to advise with these new leaders of the new Church." 

Just prior to the departure of the German peace delegation 
to Paris considerable agitation was resorted to, in urging the 
people to be cautious and to eliminate all thought of revenge. 
The following two announcements are typical: 

"We are on the eve of a world epoch. The peace which is 
now to be concluded must bring a new age; not an age of murder 
and violence, but years filled with peace and reconciliation. 
The peoples of the earth shall no longer murder each other and 
bleed as victims of those desiring power. They shall work and 
shall respect the achievements of each other. The peoples no 
longer will permit governments which because of the desire 
for might outrage right. We wish a peace of righteousness 
and justice. To achieve this the German people have appointed 
a peace delegation. The peace delegation departs within a 
few days. If the delegation in the conferences demands a peace 
of justice and righteousness and protests against a peace of might, 
the entire German people will be back of it. The time of those 
who separated politics and morals is gone. We demand a real 
peace, not a condition which must have as a consequence hate, 
violence, and new wars. We ask for a peace that shall be a 
real peace. Away with all imperialistic diplomacy. We want 
peace and nothing but justice." 

This appeared in an extra paper: 

"We are on the eve of the preliminary peace negotiations. 
Fellow-citizens, the peace delegation is about to depart. Its 
task is to make secure the peace which it negotiates. There- 



250 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

fore the delegation can only sign a peace in which revenge is 
forever eliminated. Through its activities it must not in any 
way make the German people again suffer possible new wars 
by recognizing might as right. The peace delegation must not 
tolerate that any people are robbed of that which, on national 
and historical grounds, is its undeniable right. The reaction- 
aries and Chauvinists of all lands are lying low for the oppor- 
tunity to poison the youth of the world anew with bloodthirsty, 
revengeful ideas. Fellow-citizens, Germany does not wish any 
revenge ideas. The world must be able to look forward to a 
permanent peace. It hungers for salvation. You must demand 
from your leaders that they refuse absolutely every imperialistic 
policy. Down with all revenge ideas! Down with every type 
of imperialism." 

After the terms of the peace treaty were announced I wrote 
as follows : 

"As a protest against the peace terms a week of mourning has 
been proclaimed. This began last night and is to continue 
throughout the week. There is to be no cafe music, no dancing, 
no vaudeville, no racing; all amusement parks are to be closed 
and only serious educational or moral plays are to be given in 
the theaters. Today there were large protest mass meetings 
throughout the city and on Tuesday a tremendous demonstration 
is to take place. It is not pleasant for Americans at present. 
Condemnation of Wilson, America, and Americans as hypocrites 
is most bitter. Our army headquarters has issued orders that 
all Americans in uniform shall remain indoors because of possi- 
ble violence by some unscrupulous German. Posters through- 
out the city present extracts from speeches made by Wilson 
with their dates, together with extracts from the peace terms 
dealing with corresponding subjects, the whole being an attempt 
to demonstrate the inconsistency between Wilson's promises 
and the actual terms submitted to the Germans for acceptance. 

"Considerable agitation has also been inaugurated against 
the retention of the German prisoners of war by the Allied Powers 
and the proposed utilization of them for reconstruction work in 
northern France and Belgium. It is reported that an offer 
has been made by the German authorities in which they propose 
to furnish free labor for this reconstruction work", on the plea 
that the prisoners of war have suffered both physically and men- 



THE GERMAN CHURCH AT HOME AND ABROAD 251 

tally to such a degree during the long years of imprisonment 
that the thought of continued imprisonment, after the peace 
terms have been ratified, would be unendurable to them." 

In connection with the chapter in the peace treaty which 
dealt with the German missions in India, Africa, and other colonial 
possessions, most vigorous protest was made by the missionary 
leaders of Germany, notably Carl Axenfeld, who represented 
the German missionary societies on the peace delegation from 
Germany. Under date of April 8, 1919, Dr. Axenfeld published 
a special pamphlet entitled "Germany's Fight for the Freedom 
of Christian Missions," which protests strongly against the 
expulsion of all German missionaries from the colonial posses- 
sions of the world. His concluding sentence is typical of the 
entire pamphlet: "Return the missionary fields to the German 
Christians. You who maintained that you were drawn into 
the fight for the ideals of humanity must permit the service of 
the messengers of Christ to take place spontaneously and with- 
out limitations in the manner which such royal service has a 
right to demand," the reference being obviously to Americans. 

Temporarily at least, all German missions in colonial fields 
have been taken over by Allied or neutral interests. No one 
denies that in many fields these German missions were most 
efficient and did much for the furtherance of Christianity in the 
fields concerned. It is perhaps equally true that in some cases 
the missions were utilized as centers for propagating German 
ideals and ideas. Whether or not the supervision of the missions 
will ever be returned to the Germans is questionable. From the 
standpoint of international Christianity, however, it would 
seem advisable that very soon, at least as soon as Germany is 
permitted to enter the League of Nations, these missions should 
be again returned to her as a field of endeavor for her missionaries. 

The German school system was one which did not permit 
the more intelligent pupil to advance in accordance with his 
knowledge. He was held back with the rest of his class until 
the entire class had advanced. A movement which gained 
tremendous acceleration immediately after the revolution suc- 
ceeded in changing this system, the slogan utilized in the cam- 
paign being "Freie Baton dem Tuchtigen," "Free road ahead for 
the competent one." 



252 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

It is probably known that the ordinary boy or girl in Ger- 
many was unable to attend the universities. Unlike our institu- 
tions, where the students are able to earn all or part of their 
expenses, no such arrangement existed in Germany. Furthermore, 
any student who attempted thus to earn his expenses would 
immediately have been ostracized by his fellow-classmates. As 
a result, the universities were open only to such individuals as 
had adequate funds to pay the expenses involved. The War, 
fortunately, has been the means of breaking down these restric- 
tions and no doubt many men and women will be able to attend 
the universities as a result of the democratization which has taken 
place in all phases of Germany's life — political, religious, social, 
and educational. 

In the universities the complexion of the student body was 
changed during the War. Prior to the War very few German 
universities permitted women students; furthermore, in those 
where they were permitted they were not entitled to a degree. 
The large numbers of students who entered the Army greatly 
reduced the university enrolment. To maintain the work of 
the universities women students were admitted. They eagerly 
took advantage of the new liberty thus granted them. As a 
result, in many of the universities at the present time there are 
more women than men students, and in practically all schools 
they are now granted degrees. Recently announcement was 
made of the first woman professor in one of the German uni- 
versities. 

It will be interesting in this connection also to refer to one 
of the first edicts issued by Adolf Hoffman, the first Minister 
of Education under the new republican form of government. 
In this, demand was made for the removal from all history text- 
books of references glorifying warfare and militarism; further- 
more, songs of a similar nature were to be abolished. It was 
proposed to treat history not so much from the standpoint of 
military achievements as on an economic basis. All references 
which in any way would tend to arouse animosity toward other 
peoples or nations were likewise to be removed. I was not able , 
to ascertain whether this edict actually went into effect, but 
it is at least significant of the remarkable changes that have 
occurred in the German life and thought since the revolution. 



THE GERMAN CHURCH AT HOME AND ABROAD 253 

Among the young similar movements and changes are taking 
place, especially with reference to child training. The old idea 
of rigid discipline which creates in the child fear rather than trust 
is giving way to one of greater freedom, in which the play spirit 
is to have an important part. It is no exaggeration to say that 
the German child does not know how to play. Obedient and 
submissive to a degree only possible under a military regime, 
the child of Germany has grown up with but little conception 
of the spirit of fair play. To avoid punishment he has done 
everything in his power to conceal his misdeeds. No doubt 
this same spirit of a lack of fair play is responsible for some of 
the things of which the German soldiers are reported to have 
been guilty. The German language has no word which signifies 
what we mean by fair play. Its closest approach is the term 
which we would translate as "righteousness," with the sugges- 
tion of legal right and wrong. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 

Contrary to all expectation, the repatriation of the Allied 
prisoners of war in Germany took place and proceeded far more 
rapidly than had been supposed possible. Slow to get under 
way, it went by leaps and bounds as soon as proper organization 
had been perfected. By the end of January practically all British, 
French, Italian, Belgian, and American prisoners of war had 
been repatriated. A few of the more severely wounded and ill 
were still in various hospitals and the respective commissions 
appealed to us for assistance in connection with these men. 
Through the help of our secretaries we were able to give proper 
attention to these unfortunate convalescent men. Several of 
them were transported by us and escorted to the harbors of 
embarkation and thus were sent home for better medical treat- 
ment and the wholesome effect of home ties in perfecting cures. 

With reference to the Russian prisoners of war little if any- 
thing was said in the armistice terms. It seems that immediately 
after the signing of the armistice the Germans began to repatriate 
the Russians. The change of opinion occasioned by the revolu- 
tion led to a desire to deal fairly with them; no doubt the diffi- 
culty of providing properly for them was a large factor in 
determining the matter, for it must be remembered that large 
numbers of the German soldiers who had returned from the 
front were without work, and with a million or more Russians 
engaged in rural and other occupations great difficulty was expe- 
rienced in providing adequate employment for the German 
soldiers. This led to the order previously mentioned, whereby 
the employment of enemy aliens was prohibited. Scarcity of 
food further increased the difficulties of proper provision for 
the Russians. 

It will be recalled that in the early days of the repatriation 
of the Allied prisoners of war, immediately after the signing of 
the armistice, hundreds upon hundreds of Russians from the 

254 



RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 255 

small working commandos had returned to the parent camps 
in anticipation of similar early repatriation. Among these, and 
no doubt for several months previous, agents of the Russian 
Bolsheviki had apparently sown seeds of dissension and conducted 
an intensive propaganda with material furnished by Joffe, the 
Russian ambassador in Berlin. It is well known that Joffe soon 
after the revolution was requested by the German Provisional 
Government to leave the country because of the discovery made 
that, under the pretense of relief work on behalf of the Russian 
prisoners, he had been receiving large quantities of Bolshevik 
literature for circulation among the prisoners and no doubt 
among the Germans as well. The summary order given demand- 
ing his immediate withdrawal occurred too late, for his work had 
been done. It is possible that certain German parties fully recog- 
nized that if the Russians who were thoroughly propagandized 
and won over to the Bolshevik cause, could be returned 
immediately, they would greatly reenforce the Red armies of 
Russia; such reenforcements would mean greater difficulties 
for the Allies, who were endeavoring to quell the Bolshevik agita- 
tion and reign of terror in Russia. On the other hand, their 
removal from Germany would aid Germany in her efforts to 
check the progress of Bolshevism which was assuming alarming 
proportions. No doubt all these factors served to influence 
the Germans in their desire to get rid of the Russian prisoners 
of war just as quickly as possible. Thus it was that large numbers 
of Russian prisoners, privates and officers, were entrained or 
marched to the German-Russian frontier. 

On reaching the frontier the Russian prisoners were given a 
limited supply of food and were compelled then to walk many 
miles, because all railway connections had been destroyed be- 
tween Germany and Russia, and in the winter months many 
of them succumbed. Those who reached Russia were at once 
seized by the Bolshevik forces and confronted by the ultimatum 
to join them or be shot. Most of the privates chose union with 
the Bolsheviki to death. The majority of the officers, however, 
refused to join the Bolsheviki and many were shot in cold blood 
as a result. In Berlin a report was circulated telling of the murder 
in this way of some 800 Russian officers. 

The Allied commissions in Berlin, aware of what was taking 



256 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

place and no doubt conscious of the underlying motives on the 
part of the Germans, requested that the repatriation of the Rus- 
sians cease. The Germans replied that they were compelled to 
ship these Russians back, for they could not feed them any longer. 
After extensive negotiations it was finally agreed that the Russians 
should be retained in Germany and that the Allies provide all 
supplementary food and clothing for them; furthermore, that 
the Allies should be permitted to send in supervisory detachments 
to each of the camps where Allied food was to be distributed on 
the basis of the agreement arrived at. This agreement was put 
into definite effect on February 15th. 

Our Association at once recognized the great opportunities 
which this presented and immediately made application to the 
military authorities, with definite proposals of the nature of the 
work so desired to do. Unfortunately, it was necessary to get 
permission first from the American Peace Commission in Paris 
and second from the American Department of State, and through 
some misunderstanding or miscarriage of correspondence and 
cablegrams a long delay resulted before we could actually begin 
this work, and the opportunity originally presented was largely 
lost. However, permission was finally secured and we began at 
once to do what was possible on behalf of these Russian prisoners 
of war. We no longer were subject to the former German regu- 
lations of strict surveillance of our work. In fact we were given 
comparative freedom, and as a result were able to do much for 
the men. 

The work was conducted on a twofold basis: First, on behalf 
of the American and British troops or detachments that had 
been sent to the respective camps, for whom we made adequate 
provision of books, phonographs, athletic equipment, and the 
like, and in the second place, for the Russians themselves. It 
was unnecessary for us to pay any attention to the relief phase 
of the work, as this was being efficiently cared for by the Allied 
military commissions. Our function was to provide moral relief 
in the form of educational, theatrical, athletic, and similar activ- 
ities. Many of the senior officers of the American detachments 
assumed full responsibility for these activities within the camps 
and did a magnificent piece of work with the supplies which 
we were able to provide them. In several camps athletic con- 



F 




RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 257 

tests between the Americans and the Russians were organized. 
Surprise was invariably expressed at the quickness with which 
the Russians learned the games taught them by their American 
tutors. Thus, in one camp, after a few weeks of tutorage, the 
Russian soccer football team challenged the Americans to a 
series of games and proved that they were a match for them. 
The first game ended in a one-to-nothing victory for the Amer- 
icans, the second in a two-to-nothing victory for the Russians, 
and the third in a nothing-to-nothing tie. Most amusing were 
the scenes witnessed when the Russians were learning to box. 
Clumsy, awkward, and slow at first, they rapidly became experts 
in the fine art of the game. 

In connection with the work on behalf of the Russian prisoners 
of war which was done by us after February 15, 1919, there are 
many things which could be said. The far more liberal permis- 
sions which were possible, now that the War had come to an 
end and inter-Allied military missions were the official authorities 
to whom we had to apply, made it possible to enlarge the scope 
of our work greatly. Our camp secretaries had complete freedom 
within the camps and in several cases lived there with the American 
detachment. This gave great opportunities for fellowship, not 
only with the men of the detachments but especially with the 
prisoners of war. In all cases special committees were organized 
to be responsible for the activities proposed. Access to supplies 
in neutral countries was also made possible through the more 
liberal regulations which had been introduced since the revolu- 
tion in Germany. Thus there was no restriction whatsoever on 
importation of literature. 

It is perhaps not generally known that on behalf of the Russian 
troops fighting for the Allies an army Y M C A work was organ- 
ized very similar to that conducted in France and in the home 
camps. Such activity was entirely new to the Russians, and 
furthermore was the only activity made available for them. 
Schools were one of the chief types of work promoted, but to 
take care of them it was necessary to have an abundance of text- 
books which were not to be had even in Russia proper. Our office 
in Berne, Switzerland, was therefore empowered to proceed 

'th the editing and printing of large numbers of appropriate 
thooks for use among the Russians, and conducted an ex- 



258 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

tensive enterprise along this line. These books became available 
for use in the camps in Germany and proved most effective in 
promoting the educational activities. With the supplementary- 
food furnished by the Allies we were no longer met by the counter- 
proposal of the prisoners, when we suggested that schools be 
organized, "If you give us bread we will then gladly organize 
schools." The men were being fed far better than they had 
been the past year or two and hence were open to suggestion 
along other lines, such as school work, theatricals, sports, and 
the like. True, all was not easy sailing, for it must be remembered 
that the large bulk of the prisoners of war were Bolsheviki, having 
become so as a result of the propaganda distributed by the col- 
leagues of Joffe during his short term as Ambassador to Berlin. 
It seems each camp had one or two prisoners, if not more, who 
were members of the radical element and assumed responsibility 
for sowing the seeds of Bolshevism. The committees in charge 
of the camps were invariably of Bolshevik tendencies. In the 
organization of sports we were confronted by their active 
opposition. It frequently occurred that we were anxious to take 
photographs of the various athletic activities, but were invariably 
met with a flat refusal on the part of the prisoners to be photo- 
graphed, their argument being that these photographs would 
be sent to the Allied countries and would create the impression 
that the condition of the prisoners was satisfactory at least, and 
would lead the people to believe that the prisoners were content. 
Such, however, was not the case for every man was anxious to 
get home, no matter what might be the conditions in the home- 
land. Efforts were made to convince the prisoners that their 
lot was far better under the prevalent prison conditions in Germany 
than it would be were they to return home at the time. But 
such efforts were of little avail, as can be readily supposed, when 
one realizes how powerful the pull of home ties is throughout 
the world. 

In several camps when athletic meets were scheduled the 
Bolshevik element in the camp arranged for a mass meeting to 
compete with our athletic contests, hoping in this way to dis- 
courage us from carrying on our work. Evidently the Bolsheviki 
realized that activities of this character would make their 
own agitation more difficult. On the whole, however, our athletic 



RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 259 

contests proved the stronger drawing card. In not a few cases 
it happened that when our athletic contests were scheduled at 
the same time as a Bolshevik mass meeting, the prisoners all 
appeared at our program and the Bolsheviki were accordingly- 
forced to postpone their meeting. 

In spite of the hardships which many of the Russian prisoners 
endured, there no doubt are many who will endeavor to remain 
in Germany and become citizens of the country. We had any 
number of cases of a Russian prisoner who during his association 
with the family of the farmer who employed him fell in love with 
some German damsel and resolved to remain in Germany as a 
result. German regulations prohibited intercourse of any kind 
between the German civilian population and the prisoners of 
war. Similarly, marriages of this character were prohibited, 
but for prisoners who were sincere in their desire provision was 
made, granting permission to remain in the country and promising 
marriage with the girl in question after the War. A letter was 
addressed to us by one of the Russian prisoners on the assump- 
tion that we could be of assistance to the writer in fulfilling his 
desires, and a literal translation of it reads: "Wish to remain 
German subject. Do not wish to return to Russia. Signature 
and address." 

In a similar manner we were appealed to time and again to 
assist individual prisoners in connection with their marriages 
with German girls. One of the most interesting cases of this 
character was the letter received from a prisoner in Russia re- 
questing us to negotiate, by correspondence if possible, his mar- 
riage with a girl in Austria. He was anxious that she should 
receive his estate in case he failed to get back to Austria alive. 

It has already been stated that in this work on behalf of the 
Russian prisoners of war we did not neglect the British and 
American military detachments assigned to the different camps. 
Complete athletic equipment, phonographs, and in several cases 
movie machines with a change of films at frequent intervals, 
were provided. In cooperation with the American Library 
Association we were able to send each detachment an excellent 
selection of library books and at regular intervals a good supply 
of American and English magazines, which were appreciated 
as much as anything. Similarly, newspapers were sent out 



260 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

daily to the different camps, thus enabling the members of the 
respective detachments to keep up to date on current events 
in world history. 

Our Association's experience with the German authorities 
had made it possible for us to render more or less efficient postal 
service to the prisoners of war, as well as to the members of the 
American detachment. Thus, all our parcels which were sent 
out to the camps apparently received special attention and were 
quickly forwarded to their destination without the many delays 
ordinarily associated with the forwarding of foreign mail or 
parcels. The postal department of the American Military Mis- 
sion in Berlin served as distributing agent for all mail addressed 
to American individuals in Germany. As an official agent it 
was necessary for them, in order to secure free postage for the 
mail, to refer it to the German War Ministry which then for- 
warded the material to the camps. The first week or two demon- 
strated that this was most unsatisfactory, mail sent out from 
Berlin being often a week or more en route before reaching its 
destination. There is nothing that provokes a doughboy more 
than to have delay in the forwarding of his mail, and immediately 
complaints were received at headquarters concerning the slowness 
with which mail was reaching the camps. In consultation with 
the military post office our organization was asked to make sug- 
gestions and finally was requested to assume responsibility for 
the distribution of the mail. This request was complied with 
and from then on practically all mail for members of the American 
Military Mission in unoccupied Germany was distributed through 
the Y M C A. The letters of appreciation received demonstrate 
that our service was far more efficient and assured quicker de- 
livery than the old method of reference and forwarding through 
the German War Ministry. 

Once or twice a month representatives from each of the twenty- 
eight camp detachments came to Berlin for supplies from the 
quartermasters' department and at the same time for supplies 
from our headquarters. Those were busy days for both depart- 
ments. New baseball gloves and bats and balls were among the 
things requested. Phonograph records and moving picture 
films were returned to be exchanged for new ones; additional 
material in the way of books, games, theatrical supplies, and the 



RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 261 

like, was asked for; in short, there was no limit to the demands 
made upon us for supplies for these men. 

In Berlin proper we opened up a large Foyer in which twice 
weekly a movie show was given and once a week a dance for 
the American doughboys who were stationed at the Berlin head- 
quarters. Facilities for the serving of light refreshments, a reading 
room, writing material, and billiard table, were provided. At 
the hotels where the men were quartered, both for officers and 
men phonographs were installed with as extensive an assortment 
of records as could be secured. 

Special efforts were put forth to make the Fourth of July a 
memorable day for the members of the Mission. For those 
stationed at Berlin a picnic was arranged. Thanks to the co- 
operation of certain of the German officials, it was possible to 
charter a steamboat by means of which the participants were 
taken out through the wonderful lake section about Berlin to 
Potsdam, the seat of Sans Souci; and here in the spacious and 
beautiful grounds of Sans Souci our American doughboys and 
officers celebrated their Fourth of July, 1919. For the members 
of the respective camp detachments the best we could do was 
to send them eggs, condensed milk, and sugar for the preparation 
of ice cream. These supplies proved a most pleasant surprise 
and enabled each of the camps to have that luxury, real American 
ice cream, for their Fourth of July dinner. In a number of cases 
baseball games were scheduled between teams composed of 
representatives from different camp detachments, and on the 
whole a patriotic and enjoyable day was celebrated. 

The following letter from Brigadier General George H. Harries, 
Chief of the American Mission at Berlin, is significant as indica- 
ting appreciation of all for the service which the Association 
endeavored to render: 

"Now that the career of this Mission approaches its ter- 
mination I am surveying the achievements of the faithful — 
among whom are those who followed the leadership of Mr. Hoff- 
man and yourself. 

"Never was there better or more work by few workers than 
that done by the American Y M C A, whether for our prisoners 
in German hands, for the Russian prisoners, or for the force of 
this Mission in Berlin or in the camps. 

"Particularly effective were your efforts with respect to the 



262 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

improvement of Russian morale. Prisoners for more than four 
years, ill fed, half clad, homesick, and rebellious, they were almost 
desperate when the Inter-Allied Commission came into control. 
Every available agency was called upon to assist — save the Amer- 
ican Y M C A. It volunteered before anyone could ask for its 
active interest. Many difficulties confronted Mr. Hoffman, 
but we managed to push them aside so that you and your staff 
were then free to accomplish — and you have wrought — miracles. 
Football, baseball, and other athletic sports, libraries, schools, 
theaters, and orchestras came to the rescue of hundreds of thou- 
sands of those in captivity. 

"The combination of the increased rations provided by the 
Entente and the greatly accelerated physical and mental activity 
induced by your little corps lifted the prisoners out of dangerous 
despondency and upset many a threatening conspiracy. 

"My hearty thanks to you, to each one of your assistants, 
and to the Association itself for a priceless contribution to the 
work of this Mission." 

This letter is simply typical of many received from the ranking 
American and British officers of different camp detachments which 
further demonstrated that our service was greatly appreciated by 
them. . 

The following case illustrates the manner in which we suc- 
ceeded in winning the respect and admiration of the American 
doughboys for our service. Immediately upon receiving word 
that American detachments were to be sent to the different 
camps a circular letter was sent to each, addressed to the ranking 
American officer, in which we offered our assistance and stated 
that we hoped to have an American Y secretary for each camp. 
In one of the camps this offer apparently was not welcome and 
we received a letter which very pointedly stated that they had 
no use for a secretary. Simultaneously a letter was addressed 
from the same camp to the military headquarters at Berlin in 
which it was urgently requested that the Mission prevent a 
secretary from coming to the camp, stating that he would be 
most unwelcome. Realizing that the men were thus depriving 
themselves of a real service, for conditions were quite different 
in Germany from those in France, we persisted and asked for 
the privilege of at least demonstrating to this camp whether or 
not we could make good. Our request was granted and within 
a month's time the attitude, not only of the ranking officer in the 



RUSSIAN PRISONERS AND THEIR GUARDS 263 

detachment but of the doughboys as well, had been changed 
to one of appreciation and hearty respect, as is evident from the 
letter from the ranking officer which follows herewith: 

"This detachment will close August 14th and proceed to Berlin 
on the 15th, from where the same day at midnight we proceed 
to Coblenz. We will bring with us boxed up phonograph, records, 
and books. If you have any instructions to give, shoot them at 
once for time is short. Every man in this detachment appre- 
ciates the work you have done for us. The attitude of this 
detachment towards the Y M C A has been completely changed. 
One of my men remarked the other day 'that Y M C A guy in 
Berlin sure hits the ball.' " 



CHAPTER XXVII 
A CONCLUDING JUDGMENT 

The work thus carried on was continued until August 15, 
1919, the date of departure of the American Military Mission 
from Berlin. The writer was fortunate early in June to secure 
authorization for his return to the States, arriving here just 
three days short of four years from the time he had left for the 
expected two months' service with Dr. Mott's "flying squadron." 

In retrospect the following thoughts occur to the author. Ger- 
many has been most disastrously and ingloriously defeated in a 
war for which the German Junkers and Prussian militarists were 
responsible rather than the German people. The latter, through 
centuries of superimposed discipline of a most intensive and 
rigid type and through a system most efficient in the utilization 
of school, church, and all other agencies for propagating its militar- 
istic ideas, were thoroughly cowed into submission and imbued 
with the belief that their ruling superiors were supreme and 
right. All attempts by individuals or groups to oppose the 
Government, were quickly and severely crushed. Today the 
German people recognize how far they were misled by these 
intriguing and shrewd superiors. 

When President Wilson made his statement that the world, 
and America in particular, was not fighting the German people 
but the system represented by the Kaiser and Prussian militar- 
ism, the people after preliminary resentment gradually accepted 
his statement. The revolution resulted in the overthrow of 
the system and of the leaders to whom the War is generally 
attributed. Having thus caused the downfall of the system, 
the people fully expected to be dealt with in accordance with 
the various promises made. However, the negotiations relative 
to the peace terms, which were from time to time made public 
in Germany, soon brought disillusionment. The people had 
come to look upon President Wilson as all-powerful, as sincere, 
and above all as just. To them the peace terms were inconsistent 

264 



A CONCLUDING JUDGMENT 265 

with the talk about justice, righteousness, and humanity they 
had heard. Deceived by their own old-time superiors, they 
grasped at the promises of Wilson, in full confidence that here 
was a just and ideal man. The peace terms destroyed this con- 
fidence, and they believed themselves again deceived. Despair 
of any good in the world, of any sense of justice and righteousness 
in the world, has taken possession of many. 

Such is the situation today. With Spartacist agitation from 
the left, monarchistic intrigue from the right, and internally the 
most woeful state of chaos — due to suspension of many industries 
and resultant non-employment, and above all to the aggravating 
food and fuel conditions — despair prevails. The future alone 
can reveal what will take place; one cannot predict. 

The world demands that Germany forever surrender the Prus- 
sian militaristic principle of might, that she adopt and incorporate 
democratic principles and ideals into her life as a nation. On 
the other hand, Germany is still ostracized from the society of 
nations. 

Tradesmen, lured by the most advantageous rate of exchange, 
have entered Germany in the hope of booty. Socialistic agencies 
have entered and are hard at work. It is high time, now that 
Germany has been defeated, that the hand of Christian helpful- 
ness and fellowship be extended to the German people. They 
need encouragement in their efforts to become a democracy 
welcome in the society of nations. They need sympathy for a 
renewal of their faith in mankind and God. With the children 
of Belgium and northern France, Poland, Armenia, and Austria, 
one must as a Christian nation include the children of Germany 
for they, too, are innocent victims of war's ruthlessness. 

Much has been said about the cruelty shown in the treatment 
of the Allied prisoners of war in Germany. The writer frankly 
admits that there were instances of this, but in the feverish heat 
of desire to arouse sentiment against Germany these cases have 
been generalized and described as representing the universal 
condition of the prison camps in Germany. Conditions behind 
the lines and in the occupied territory, as well as in the reprisal 
camps, are not included in the present considerations. 

The writer feels justified and qualified, on the basis of his 
four years' experience during which some ninety camps were 



266 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

visited one or more times, to state that the treatment of the 
prisoners of war in Germany was as good as could be expected 
under the prevalent conditions. 

Food parcels sent to prisoners of war in camps were invariably 
issued; on the other hand, parcels sent men behind the lines or 
in the occupied territory rarely reached their destination. When 
food was at such a premium that the temptation to steal became 
increasingly irresistible, many parcels and the contents of others 
were taken, not by the German Government, but by the many 
employes who handled the parcels en route. The Government 
did everything in its power to prevent these thefts, which oc- 
curred also in connection with parcels sent German soldiers at 
the front by their German relatives. Our office invariably re- 
ceived remuneration for any parcels and their contents which 
had been sent by us and which we were able to show had failed 
to reach the prisoners. Those who were caught stealing were 
punished severely. Most if not all of the camp commandants 
with whom we had to deal and who had Russian, Roumanian, 
or Serbian prisoners of war under them, appealed to us time and 
again for assistance in securing food for their prisoners. It was 
impossible for them to secure it, and the only hope was through 
some agency that had contact with the outside world. 

One should not forget that even after America's entry into the 
War, the author, an American, was permitted to remain and to 
continue an extensive relief work on behalf of the enemy prisoners 
in Germany. One wonders whether a German would have been 
permitted in any of the Allied countries to move about as freely 
and to serve as extensively the German prisoners of war, as the 
writer was permitted to do in his service of Allied prisoners in 
Germany. The writer, while fully conscious of the cases of mal- 
treatment of prisoners in Germany, does feel that some thought 
should be given to the far larger numbers of cases of unusually 
good treatment. One should remember that in the land of 
Huns, as Germany has been called, there were men considerate 
and sympathetic, sincere in their desire to do justly by the prison- 
ers in their charge. 

The writer wishes especially to call the attention of the many 
thousands of Americans who gave so liberally to the funds first 
raised by Dr. John R. Mott and later to the Student Friendship 



A CONCLUDING JUDGMENT 267 

Fund, to the fact that the work done on behalf of the prisoners 
of war which has been here described was made possible wholly 
and entirely as a result of their gifts. The prisoners were men who 
were in need most of all of the expression of friendship, and the 
work that has been described, which was made possible by the 
Student Friendship Fund, brought to them not only the message 
of friendship but with it new hope and encouragement, new faith 
in mankind and in God. 



APPENDIX I 

LETTERS OF APPRECIATION FROM 
PRISONERS OF WAR 

Muncheberg 1/ March 
Mr. Conrad Hoffman: 
Dear Sir: 

We leave in half an hour for Stettin, therefore these few lines to thank 
you for all you have done for us while in captivity. Words cannot express 
all that I wish to say, but my heart will in the near future repay for all 
you have done. The boys here wish the best of luck to you and only 
hope you are on the same boat home with us. Thank Mr. Husband for 
us for getting us out of the country as he said. 
With the best of wishes to you, I remain 

Truly yours, 

Frank Brooks (an American). 

Stendal, May 19, 1917 
I beg to acknowledge with the greatest gratitude receipt of a case of 
magazines and books which we have added to our library; The maga- 
zines were especially delightful. Some of them have already been sent 
to our hospital and working parties. 

I ask you therefore on behalf of these men who are unable to express 
their appreciation on their own account, to accept our deepest thanks 
for your kindness. 

We were very happy to see Mr. Schaetti here yesterday and he gave us 
a beautiful address. 

Yours faithfully, 
Harold M. Purser, Sergt. 15th Canadians, Secretary 

From a rabbi: 

In my returning the letter which you so kindly sent tome, I wish to tell 
you of my joy and gratitude for the tolerant and impartial way in which 
you are serving those of my faith. Your service is indicative of the 
spirit of true and genuine religion which demands respect and recognition 
from one of another faith. It strengthens the hope in me for a time of 
fraternalism and Christian love among men. May I assure you that 
your noble efforts have found the proper response in me. In this spirit 
I take pleasure in assuring you of my heartiest cooperation at all times. 

With sincerest regards and highest esteem, 



From a Serbian officer: 

Immediately upon receipt of your letter I made arrangements to 
secure the names of the most needy among my countrymen; there are 
altogether too many of us to give you the names of all. I therefore give 

268 



LETTERS OF APPRECIATION 269 

you herewith the names of those who are in greatest need. These are 
in part old and weak, in part sick. None have had any assistance from 
any source, and we should be deeply indebted to you if you could assist 
them in any way. What they need most are strengthening foods such 
as meat, bacon, rice, sugar, and bread, if possible. 

At the same time I wish to thank you for the thirteen parcels which you 
have already sent to us. I saw old soldiers who have taken part in four 
wars, break down in tears on receipt of your parcels. May God reward 
you! With the hope that you will continue to think of us poor and 
forsaken ones, I remain in the name of my Serbian brothers, 

Yours eternally thankful, 



From a Russian Lieutenant, chairman of a camp relief committee : 

In the name of the imprisoned Russians in Camp the Rus- 
sian Relief Committee begs to express its sincerest and deepest thanks to 
you for the help given us for our sick comrades. The gift of condensed milk 
caused the eyes of many of our seriously ill comrades to lighten up in 
grateful surprise. The generous sympathy and compassion, the realiza- 
tion that we are not entirely forgotten in this foreign land, help many a 
despairing one to new hope, and bring a bright beam of sunshine into 
their existence. 

May this magnanimity some day be rewarded is the wish of all the 
sick and weak in our camp, and the Russian Relief Committee. 

Doberitz, Dec. 17, 1915 
Dear Sir: 

The French prisoners of war take pleasure in conveying to you their 
thanks for the good work that you have been able to organize in the 
camp at Doberitz as a result of your successful efforts and splendid help. 
The above prisoners would be very grateful if you would act as their 
interpreter to the International Committee of the Young Men's Christian 
Association and assure them of their highest esteem and gratefulness. 

E. Guesnu 
R. Offroy 

Zerbst, Anhalt Nov. 11, 1918 
The YMC A, Berlin 
Gentlemen : 

Before our departure for our homeland, allow us to thank you very 
heartily for the splendid assistance you have given us. 

The good work of your Association will be long remembered by British 
prisoners of war; no matter what we asked for, you were ever and always 
willing to supply it for us. 

In Mr. Schaetti we all found a very true friend and many Britishers 
have good cause to be grateful to his splendid services. The present 
committee of this camp can also thank him for being put in touch with 
their own committees so quickly; so once again let us thank you one and 
all for your good and charitable work and may God bless you, is the wish of 

Yours very sincerely, 
Charles A. Atkinson, Sgt. 16th Australians, President 



APPENDIX II 

AN AMERICAN WOMAN IN BERLIN 

[The following account by Mrs. Conrad Hoffman of the war- time 
regulations concerning food and clothing gives a picture from the house- 
keeper's standpoint of the actual conditions which prevailed.] 

Our three-year-old daughter and I joined Mr. Hoffman in Berlin in 
December, 1915, and we began housekeeping in a furnished apartment in 
Wilmersdorf. My first efforts to adjust myself to my surroundings in a 
strange land, while I struggled with an unfamiliar language, have given 
me a deep sympathy with the foreigners whom I see now in America. 

During December, 1915, and January, 1916, the only food cards in use 
were bread cards, and they seemed to be only a precautionary measure, 
since there was always plenty of dark bread and a kind of crusty biscuit, 
almost white, on the market. I used to wonder where we had acquired 
the idea at home that there was starvation in Germany. However, 
toward the end of January I found that I could not always get as much 
butter as I asked for, as the dealers would not always have enough on 
hand. This was also true with milk; it would be necessary occasionally 
to go more than once a day in order to secure enough. Rumors began to 
circulate that butter would soon disappear from the market. 

By the first of February the situation had become serious enough to 
require regulating, so the order was issued that only a quarter of a pound 
of butter could be had at a time, and that dealers would have to mark on 
the customers' bread card that the allowance had been bought for the 
week. Then the task of supplying one's family became increasingly 
difficult. At first it meant only the necessity of going to several shops 
before one could be supplied; then came the time when shops put up a 
notice as to the day on which butter would be on hand; and finally not 
only the day, but the hour. Then began the standing in line four abreast, 
to wait for the time set in order to secure some before the supply was 
exhausted, "ausverkauft" (sold out), a word I learned too thoroughly in 
the months that followed ever to forget. 

This system of having the center of the bread cards marked for every- 
thing as it became scarce, until the proper cards could be printed and 
distributed, was followed all that spring, one item after another being 
added to the list. Butter cards were issued in May, first for half a pound 
a week, then a quarter pound, gradually decreasing until by the end of the 
year it was two ounces. Next came sugar, bought on bread cards in May; 
sugar cards were issued in June, the amount decreasing, too, until it was 
one pound per person a month, except for children under ten, who received 
one and a half pounds. Soap was next, first bought on bread cards in 
April, though the soap cards were not issued until August. Then came 
what was the hardest of all for the meat-eating Germans, the scarcity of 
meat. It was then that I heard the first complaints against the "Regie- 
rung," those in charge of the distribution of food; and it was then that 
I first saw men as well as women standing in line. 

The first demonstration of unrest came early in May, when a butcher 

270 



AN AMERICAN WOMAN IN BERLIN 271 

in Charlottenburg was discovered hiding some fifty sides of precious 
bacon, waiting for higher prices, and fresh meat to be made into sausage 
for which he could demand high prices, there being no price fixed by 
law on sausages as on other meats. At midnight a crowd of women 
turned out and stoned his place, breaking all the windows and doing as 
much damage as they could. Then they proceeded to storm the shop of 
a dealer who had canned vegetables and fruit and also sold tobacco, 
and who had refused to sell food unless tobacco was purchased at the same, 
time. That was the only sign of a food riot that took place in Berlin as 
long as I was there, though there were reports to the contrary. 

In June the regular meat cards were issued, in July potato cards. 
Milk cards had been issued as early as March but their use was not strictly 
enforced till several months later, when milk became so Very scarce that 
families without children received no milk unless able to produce a doctor's 
certificate showing illness that required it; children between six and ten 
received skimmed milk, whereas those under six received graduated 
amounts of whole milk according to age. With a child just four years 
old we were entitled to three-quarters of a quart a day. From then on 
everything became scarce. By the fall of 1916 there was practically 
nothing to be had in unlimited quantities, and stores began to look empty. 

The system of distributing cards was well worked out; the committees 
in charge, usually consisting of two girl clerks and one man, had offices in 
the various schools. Lists of names were furnished by the police depart- 
ment and also by the porters or janitors of the different apartment houses, 
each being required to hand in a list of families. When the cards were 
ready for distribution, notice was posted on the bulletin boards and the 
janitors were required to be present at a certain hour with the house lists. 
Each then received his quota of cards, the serial numbers being entered 
on a book opposite the name of each householder. Individuals, therefore, 
never needed to see these committees except in a case of appeal, when 
cards were lost, or a family tried to get a little extra bread. Families with 
children twelve to eighteen years of age were usually granted extra bread 
cards, as growing children of that age require more than adults. Men 
who did hard manual labor sometimes were also allowed extra coupons. 
Nursing mothers received bread cards for the babies, giving the mothers 
the needed double allowance. There was also provision made under 
doctor's orders, for milk for expectant and nursing mothers. 

It must be borne in mmd that possession of cards and money did not 
insure the procuring of food. The long hours of standing in line for food 
became a real menace to the health, strength, and morale of the women, 
the hours becoming so long finally that everyone sat sewing, knitting, or 
reading — anything to keep busy. Homes and children were neglected, 
the mere gathering of a little food taking a housekeeper's entire time. 
I stood more than once from one to seven p. m. to carry home half a peck 
of potatoes. After I began helping with the work in the office I secured 
a maid, who did most of the standing, though when potatoes became so 
scarce in the winter of 1916 that dealers on the open market would give 
a customer only a few pounds regardless of how many cards she held, we 
worked together. I would go before the market was open and take my 
place while she finished the housework at home; then she would come and 
take my advanced position with her basket and card, and I would go to 
the rear of another line formed at another dealer's and gradually work up 



272 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

till she had bought and taken home the first lot of potatoes. Then she 
would take my place and I would go to the rear of another column, and 
in that way by working a whole afternoon we would accumulate enough 
potatoes for the week. This very American way of solving a difficult 
problem amused my German acquaintances very much. 

When conditions at last became so serious that women would stand 
from ten o'clock at night until seven the next morning when the meat 
shops would open, in order to be near the beginning of the line and so 
obtain meat, measures were taken to relieve the situation. We were 
required to register at the various shops where we decided we wanted to 
buy various items, such as milk, butter, and meat, taking with us the 
bread cards for the family, and surrendering the middle portion of them 
which the dealer used as certificates showing how many customers had 
enrolled with him. We were then compelled to buy those articles at the 
designated store, for as long as the card was issued, usually a month for 
milk, eggs, and meat, six weeks for sugar, longer for potatoes. When 
the cards expired one was privileged to change dealers if there had been 
any cause for dissatisfaction. Arrangements were made also whereby 
the poor, who even in peace times ate very little meat, could exchange 
their meat cards for certificates entitling them to various cereals. Each 
dealer was then supplied with the amount allowed him according to his 
trade, and things went much more smoothly. The cards were good 
only on certain days, in order to distribute the trade through the week. 

The one exception to this was the meat card, meat being so scarce that 
it did not pay to keep the stores open, so we were all given a number and 
three times a week notice would be put in the window stating which 
numbers were to be accommodated. I well remember mine was 374. For 
quite a while, by dint of being very humble and painstakingly polite, 
I was able to get my pound and three quarters of meat and bones on 
Saturday — half a pound for each adult and a quarter pound for the child — 
The last weeks before I left Berlin, however, even that became out of the 
question, so one of us had to go every day to see if 374 was on exhibition 
in the window. One did not enter the market and say, "I would like a 
piece of sirloin beef"; one patiently awaited one's turn, and then meekly 
handing over the cards took whatever was handed out, and paid what was 
asked, without question. Pork being the scarcest of all meats, and at 
the same time the most popular, record was kept, each customer receiving 
pork about every three weeks, and the name and date being entered in 
the dealer's books. As the only fats available were the two ounces of 
butter per person each week and an equal amount of what was called 
oleo, but which to judge from the odor when frying with it must have been 
fish oil, one had to have a little leaf lard or suet occasionally. Those 
weeks we had no meat, as the allowance of fat had to be taken on the 
meat cards in lieu of meat. It was the same with flour; one had to sacrifice 
400 grams of bread in order to secure 250, or a little more than half a 
pound, of flour. It is difficult for one who did not experience this gradual 
and increasing scarcity, to understand how completely food disappeared. 
I would send out the maid with a bill morning after morning, telling her 
to buy anything to eat she could find, only to have my bill unbroken. 

Dealers would not sell anything to a customer who did not provide 
a bag or paper in which to carry things home, even bread. I never 
ceased to be amused at the triumphant look on the faces of women, rich 



AN AMERICAN WOMAN IN BERLIN 273 

or poor, as they emerged from a store with a little package of butter in 
their hands. When any special sale was to be held at which one could 
secure a little supposed-to-be-jam, a few ounces of coarse oatmeal, or 
barley so large and coarse it had to be put through a coffee grinder before 
it would cook at all, notice was put up on the bulletin pillars on the street 
corners. These advertising places were always surrounded by people 
hoping to read of something special to be had in the line of food. I know 
that personally I never passed a pillar, even if I had scanned it several 
times that very day, without giving it another careful perusal. One day 
in a strange section of the city Louise and I passed a meat shop where the 
owner had somehow procured a little bacon. The child was wildly 
excited, and the instant her father entered the house that evening she 
danced around exclaiming, "Papa, I saw bacon today, I saw bacon today." 
And the first day we were in Switzerland, when, as a result of our country's 
entry into the War it seemed best that the little girl and I return home, 
and we stood in frpnt of a meat market in Lucerne with its windows 
filled with meat and sausage, Louise sighed and said, "I didn't know 
there was that much meat in all the world." 

During the summer of 1916 it became evident that conservation of 
cotton and woolen goods was necessary if the supply was to last the 
civilian population and provide clothes for the soldiers on their return 
from war, as no raw material of any kind was coming into the country. 
Wild rumors were circulated that after September no clothing would be 
available. The official notice, however, quieted these rumors. This 
stated that in September all stores were to be closed until an accurate 
count could be made of all clothing stock, and the results of the inventory 
sent in and tabulated, so that the true situation might be ascertained. 
It was then announced that the stores could sell without restriction 
twenty per cent of all the dry goods on hand. The balance was to be 
sold under elaborate restrictions. 

To facilitate the issuance of the necessary permits, the following method 
was employed: Stores were rented in each of the various sections or 
precincts of Berlin, usually coinciding with the school district, one store 
in each district. The work of recording and issuing permits was done 
usually by women of means and education, who volunteered their serv- 
ices. There were several on duty, who were ready not only to issue 
permits, but to advise the women how to cook, what and where to buy, 
how to care best for their children, and where to find the government 
doctors who treated them without charge. 

A card was made out for each family, with the full name of the head 
of the house, his address, occupation, etc. When a permit was sought, a 
request blank had to be filled out, which was afterward put on file. The 
item desired, the name of the person for whom it was intended, and the 
date were then entered on the family card, and the permit filled out. 
When one purchased the article the permit had to be shown to the cashier. 

Throughout all the gradually increasing hardships and lack of neces- 
saries, it was always a marvel to me how appearances were kept up in 
Berlin. Soap disappeared, yet everyone was clean, the children's aprons 
as white as ever; starch followed the soap, and yet the laundries turned 
out collars and shirts as stiff as formerly. As quickly as an article was 
no longer to be had, a substitute was on hand, "Ersatz," the German word 
for substitute, taking rank in my memory with that other sad word, 



274 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OP GERMANY 

"Ausverkauft." And when the substitutes failed, substitutes for the 
substitutes were put on the market. Caf6s, theaters, and concert halls 
seemed to nourish as of old. But beneath the surface, to those who were 
thoughtful, was the evidence of an entire nation being slowly but surely 
crushed, industrially and economically, the health and strength of the 
people terribly undermined, a process bitterly sad to see even in the 
enemy's country. 

Leather for shoes became increasingly scarce. But here, as with food, 
substitutes were quickly put on the market. Many were the contrivances 
devised to conserve shoe leather. Wooden soles were common; children 
went barefoot as long as weather permitted. I recall a flexible iron wire 
sole made on the principle of certain of our metal doormats, which was 
especially effective. I frequently saw college girls coming out of the school 
buildings, all barefoot in wooden sandals, thus saving both stockings and 
shoes. To secure a pair of shoes was well-nigh impossible. I have seen 
women at eleven-thirty p. m. in front of a shoe shop waiting for it to open 
the next morning at eight-thirty, in order to get their names entered on 
the list which would entitle them to a pair of shoes in the course of two 
or three months. 

As the war continued all cotton bandages gave out, with the result 
that paper bandages were employed. In place of absorbent cotton a 
specially prepared paper pulp was substituted. Restaurants and hotels 
were prohibited from using table linen, most of their supplies of it being 
requisitioned by the Government for hospital use. In the finer hotels 
paper table cloths were then employed; in the ordinary restaurants and 
hotels one ate from the white wooden table tops. Rooming houses in 
many cases requested the roomers to bring their own bed linen and towels. 
Scarcity of soap further increased the inconveniences. Thus my 
landlady threatened to change my bed linen but once in six weeks in 
order to save both soap and wear and tear on the linen. 

The ever-increasing scarcity of clothing and cloth of all kinds was no 
doubt responsible for the wonderful progress that was made in the manu- 
facture of woven paper cloths. The finest quality of imitation woolen 
underwear and dress goods was made from the fiber of the common low- 
land nettles, which school children were encouraged to gather. There 
was considerable discussion of the possible cultivation of nettles on a 
large scale for this cloth manufacture. The underwear possessed good 
wearing qualities and warmth and when washed according to instructions 
showed characteristics that compare favorably with woolen and cotton 
fabrics. External clothing made of paper proved less satisfactory; for 
some reason it failed to hold its color and under alternating exposure to 
sun and rain soon faded and became most shabby in appearance. None 
the less, paper suits saved many from cold and exposure in the winter. 

For coarser qualities of paper cloth various wood fibers were utilized, 
and surprising results were achieved. Even turf from peat bogs was 
utilized in the manufacture of various qualities of felt and padding mate- 
rials. Rugs, tapestries, twine and rope, dress goods of all kinds, shades, 
tapestry effect wall papers, curtains, and harness were some of the things 
exhibited at a rather fine exposition of paper products held in Berlin early 
in 1918, which very strikingly demonstrated the great progress made in 
this new industry and suggested future possibilities, 



APPENDIX III 

CAMP NEWSPAPERS 

I. The Barbed Wireless 
Published spasmodically at Ukrainerlager, Rastatt, Baden, by the 
American Overseas Publishing Company, Incarcerated. Main Office 
Barracks No. 2. 

In order to keep its readers as thoroughly misinformed as possible on 
all events of no importance whatever, The Barbed Wireless has engaged on 
its reportorial staff the most imcompetent and unreliable 'writers in cap- 
tivity. 

Written complaints should be carefully worded, using only one side of 
the paper, addressed plainly to the Ejck Department, Wireless Office, 
and deposited in the waste basket. This will save us the trouble of 
disposing of them in like manner. 

Complaints made in person will be manhandled as promptly and effi- 
ciently as the size of the complainant will permit. 

The Barbed Wireless is not entered in the post office as second class 
matter; there being no post office. 

Editorial 

The Barbed Wireless is a periodical appearing irregularly and on the 
rare occasions the editors feel themsejves animated by a desire to work. 

It is published solely in the interests of the American soldiers who 
find themselves temporarily the guests of the enemy in the delightful 
community of Rastatt, formerly a summer resort, but now open to Amer- 
icans throughout the entire year. 

The purpose of this embryonic journal is to keep alive the spirit of 
Americanism, to drive away any gloom and depression that might take 
root from time to time, and to set down in durable form a record of all 
events and happenings among us which may prove of interest later on 
when our life at Rastatt is but a dim memory — a passing flash in the 
kaleidoscope of life. 

In order that we may secure the best possible results in making the 
paper of interest and value to all, we earnestly request the cooperation 
and assistance of every American in camp. Contributions of any nature 
whatever are acceptable. If not printed, they will be thrown out, thereby 
keeping our office boy busy and out of trouble. Everyone can write, 
draw, or rhyme something or nothing — funny stuff or deep stuff, jokes, 
limericks, or sporting dope; no matter what. 

Young Men's Christian Association. 

We wish at this time on behalf of all Americans here to express our 

sincere thanks and appreciation to the Y M C A for the kindness and 

generosity shown us through their representatives, Mr. Conrad Hoffman 

and Mr. Diehl. 

For the benefit of any who may not be acquainted with what has already 

275 



276 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

been done for us, we publish below a short resume of the gifts received 
to date: 118 books; 24 games of dominoes; 7 games of Halma; 5 games of 
Ludo; 7 games of chess; 24 games of checkers; 17 harmonicas; 2 pairs of 
boxing gloves; 1 baseball; 1 fielder's glove; 2 indoor balls; 2 indoor bats. 

Besides this the Y M C A has placed at our disposal a certain sum of 
money from which any man may draw who is in need. 

Certainly as prisoners of war we are extremely fortunate to be able to 
come in personal touch with such a generous organization. We believe 
that there are no prisoners of any other nationality that have such an 
active society to look after their welfare. What has been given us is but a 
nucleus around which plans are being made to supply us with everything 
possible to make our time pass quickly, happily, and usefully. Every one 
of us is highly indebted to the YMCA. It is therefore our duty to show 
our gratitude by endeavoring to further its aims, in helping others and in 
trying ourselves to become bigger and finer men, not only to improve each 
day in our own lives but to make our presence an example and incentive 
for others to follow. 

Sports 

1. In view of the fact that our YMCA is to furnish us a supply of 
athletic goods, we urge the athletes of the different barracks to form 
teams of all kinds. 

2. Organize your teams, tell us what you have, and games will be 
arranged. 

3. Card games, chess and checker tournaments, anything for amuse- 
ment — all together and see what can be done to help fellow-prisoners here. 

Theatrical Notes 

Actors, jugglers, monologists, circus riders, trapeze manipulators, and 
other unemployed are wanted by the camp theatrical association which 
has recently been formed under the general direction of Corporal C. F. 
Mohn. The Association is affiliated with the Musical Corps of which 
Corporal H. E. Bergmann is leader, and the two together will be re- 
sponsible for bringing levity and mirth into the affairs of the camp this 
winter. 

A theater with dressing rooms and stage equipments is to be built by the 
YMCA and when it is completed entertainments will be given at fre- 
quent intervals. They will include plays, vaudeville sketches, dramatic 
reading, minstrels, and all manner of musical stunts. Productions will 
be rehearsed and staged by Private Frederic McConnell, who, before 
entering the Army, was Assistant Director of the Arts and Crafts Theater, 
Detroit. 

The Association is preparing a list of theatrical material in camp. 

Food Exchange Quotations 
Tucker Bucket Shop's Last Report 

Sugar (lb) 23 boxes hardtack $ can Bully and 3 

cigarette papers 

Cocoa (J^ lb) 27 loaves "Pain" and one can tomatoes 

Soap Priceless 

Milk 04 pt) 2 collar buttons, 1 gold safety pin, and 

i can salmon 
Jam per jar Prices still fluctuating; see next report 



CAMP NEWSPAPERS 277 

Hardtack Join our Poker Club — You'll always 

have plenty 

Second Hand Coffee 6 roubles, 39 kopeks 

Snuff (Fleap-Owder Brand) .... 2 marks per package 

Any man in the camp who desires to spend his time in some useful 
pursuit while detained here, will find nothing better than the Y M C A 
Bible class. 

Surely everyone would like to be able to tell his folks that he has not 
spent a wasted, useless life in Germany, but on the contrary has been 
redeeming the time. 

Everyone knows that his people would be more than pleased to hear 
that he is a member of a Bible class. Let's do the right thing. Fellows! 
Join now! 

The class is to be held weekly and for the present we will study the 
Life of Jesus as narrated in the book entitled "Jesus of Nazareth." It 
is of interest to note that this book was translated from the French by 
a few prisoners like ourselves for the use of their companions and others 
in captivity. It is a simple, well-written story, which, we feel confident, 
will be enjoyed by all who study it. 

Leader Pvt. Bisby. 

II. The Rembahn Review 

This paper, published by British prisoners at Minister II, demonstrated 
the splendid humor and spirit of the men. 

When down in the mouth, think of Jonah — he came out all right! 

Cpl. P. Mallinson, Royal Irish. 

Hoo can ye dae ocht when ye've nocht tae dae ocht wi'? 

Pte. J. S. Marshall, Camerons. 

Name and probable wherabouts of the Guy who invented the "catch" 
phrase, "We're here today and gone tomorrow." Apply. 

Bombardier D. G. Blanks, R. F. A. 

To Prepare Blue Peas 

1. Count out 450 (enough for three persons), boil some water, in which 
leave the peas to soak for the week-end. 

2. Be first man up on the Monday morning and place tin containing 
peas on the center of the stove. 

3. If possible, add a pinch of soda to conserve green shade, failing 
which throw in a couple of aspirin tablets at intervals of three-quarters 
of an hour. A sprig or two of mint heightens the flavor; for Canadians, 
a stick of spearmint will serve. Don't forget to add water each time 
evaporation is complete. Stir intermittently until done. Arrange to 
have dinner and tea together. If still hard, don't throw away, as much 
amusement can be had with a piece of elastic by first class shots during 
the meal. 

THE LAGER (Camp) LINGO 

I suppose the confusion of Babel made such a mess of the highflying 
schemes of men because it came as a thunderclap of novelty. The world 



278 IN THE PRISON CAMPS OF GERMANY 

has progressed since then. We can hardly imagine such a matter having, 
in these days, such an enormous effect. We know that there are plenty 
of works which do not shut down merely because the workers do not 
understand one another. But then, perhaps, Babylon was at peace. 

Where any cosmopolitan crowd of gefangenen (prisoners) is gathered 
together, there is the Tower of Babel. Yet the confusion of tongues 
is surmounted. The camp jargon is the flimsy bridge by which we get 
some idea-, crude though it may be, of what our comrades of other races 
are thinking, and the amount of thought we can trade with it is surprising. 
It is compounded with all tongues, yet something enables the stranger to 
gather meaning from words he has surely never heard before. 

The comfort about this go-as-you-please tongue is that the grammar 
is as simple as the spelling. It is subject to the same law of necessity; 
you invent it or you leave it alone, as you please, and therein lies, to my 
mind, its abiding advantage over Esperanto and the other hybrid attempts 
of men to find a common medium of expression. There are no rules, and 
consequently no exceptions; the fine — and superfluous — distinctions of 
past, present, and future are ignored, and there are no irregular verbs to 
trouble about. Even our stage interpreter of "French as it is spoken" 
has acquired proficiency in the Lager Lingo, and when he despairs of 
mastering the parts of the verb "avoir" he consoles himself with the re- 
flection that he can at least talk gefangenese. Many of us can swear in it. 
That is the final test that proves a man really the master of a language, 
and no mere walking vocabulary ! 

A word without which this weird lingo would be seriously hampered 
is "nix." It is strange, perhaps, that in a prison camp the word most 
often heard should have a negative meaning. Without it we should be 
lost, for it has a vast capacity for usefulness, when you try to explain 
to an anxious foreigner what a thing really is. "Nix mad'mselle," you 
say to your Russian comrade, "nix madam, but . . . ?" and you make a 
gesture which implies your idea of the only other remaining member of 
the indicated sex. "Ja, ja," he replies, "ponemi," and he holds up his 
fingers to show that he has two daughters. As to how far you carry this 
particular conversation depends upon whether you think either of them 
is likely to be pretty, whether you can convince him you are still a bach- 
elor, and other such contingencies. It is a blessed word, "nix." 

Apparently, the only English word is "good." We are not great lin- 
guists, and our mother tongue borrows more than it lends, which is per- 
haps a national failing. The phrase, "beaucoup good cha," reveals the 
truly conglomerate nature of this international jargon. "Much good 
tea" was one of the consolations of packets from home. 

In spite of its deficiencies, of one thing we may be certain — we could 
not get on without the lingo. A. E. G. 



APPENDIX IV 

PERSONNEL 

American YMCA Secretaries who worked among the prisoners of 
war in Germany: 

A. C. Harte 

James E. Sprunger 

Rev. H. Neander (Swede but served with 

American secretaries) 
Wm. H. Lawall 
Claus Olandt 
Carl T. Michel 
J. Gustav White 
J. E. Wehner 
E. 0. Jacob 
J. S. Kennard 
Alfred Lowry 
Crawford Wheeler 
Arthur Siebens 
Louis E. Dunn 
Lewis W. Wolferz 

Neutral Secretaries who worked among the prisoners of war in Germany: 

H. Hogsbro Dane 

M. Hansen Dane 

0. Hoyer Dane 

E. Diehl Swede 

E. Schaetti Swiss 

P. Ami Swiss 

J. Brenning Swede 

H. Roegeberg Norwegian 

T. Boman Norwegian 

H. Juhl Dane 

A. Von Aesch Swiss 



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